I remember it was the second week of July when we had this lightbulb moment: What if we could chat with a book? The concept was intriguing, and so we took the plunge. We registered the domain iChatbook and got cracking. We started jotting down blog posts, basically penning down everything we were learning about the space, the kind of features we wanted, and the types of products we saw on the market.
And let me tell you, there were some interesting products out there, not hundreds, maybe around ten that we could find, and perhaps another ten that we couldn’t. The core technology seemed pretty straightforward. You take a file, be it an EPUB, PDF, or just plain text, feed it to your AI model, and voila! You could have a conversation about the book. But as we dug deeper, it became clear that there were a lot of decisions to be made that would impact the final product.
One of the first things we had to figure out was how quickly we needed the engine to respond. Different language learning models have different speeds. Then there's the question of cost. What was our budget? And let’s not forget about accuracy and correctness. We wanted the best, but that could be slow and expensive. So the real question was, what made the most sense for our use case and for you, the user?
Then came another hurdle. You see, the GPT model from OpenAI, while rated highest in accuracy, has a context window of only about 32K. That means you can’t ingest a whole book like 'The Great Gatsby', which is about 67K, and have a conversation about it. So, we needed to figure out how to handle these large context windows and still have meaningful conversations.
Once we cracked that, we turned our attention to creating an agent that could interact with you in a way that was unique and compelling. There were several apps out there that let you upload your files and chat with them. But they seemed to assume that everyone keeps e-book files handy, which is not always the case. And even when you did have the files, these apps didn’t make it easy to organize your books in a way that made sense to you.
That’s when we realized we needed to build our own solution. We wanted to create an application that didn’t just allow you to upload and chat with your books, but also let you organize them in different collections. We wanted you to be able to keep track of your interactions with each book easily. And we wanted you to be able to share these collections with others. So, in mid-July, we set to work.
Now, here we are, about to release the application to the general public. We’re keeping the initial release limited because we don’t want to overwhelm the system or compromise the user experience. But I can tell you, it’s an amazing tool. You can upload your books, organize them in collections, have chats with them, and even share your collections with others. And don't worry about copyright. You can upload books you hold the rights to without any issues.
We’re super excited about this launch and even more excited about the future. Our product is currently available on web and mobile web. And guess what? Our native Android and iPhone apps are under review and will be ready within the next month. We can't wait for you to experience iChatBook and revolutionize the way you interact with books.