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Mail.ru launches video-filter app Aristo to compete with Prisma

iPhone screenshots of Aristo app

Last week Mail.ru Group, a major, LSE-listed Russian Internet group, released Artisto, an app which allows users to edit short videos, processing them in the style of famous artworks or any other source image. Using a neural network-inspired technology, the app is now available globally on the App Store and Google Play.

Artisto now processes 10-second videos and offers 14 filters to choose from (see sample videos here). Currently, the most popular filters are ‘BlueDream,’ based on a Pablo Picasso painting, and ‘In the Fire,’ according to Mail.ru Group. Additional filters will be added later on.

Several brands and celebrities have already used Artisto to make and share their videos. Among them are KIA, British pianist and singer Stephen Ridley, and Russian musician Sergey Zhukov.

Mail.ru Group intends to develop Artisto in-house, but as a separate brand. “We’ll also use this and related technologies to enhance our own products, for example our social networks and instant messengers,” said Anna Artamonova, Mail.Ru Group VP, Head of Email and Portal business unit, in an exchange with East-West Digital News. The group owns leading Russian-language social networks Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki, as well as ICQ.

Artisto vs. Prisma

Artisto’s launch came just weeks after the emergence of Prisma, a mobile app applying the same neural network approach to images. This app, which instantly gained huge success in many countries of the world, had been developed by a former Mail.ru Group employee, Alexey Moiseenkov. The project spun off from the group, which invested in the new venture along with Gagarin Capital and XBT.

Asked about the similarities and relationship between Prisma and Artisto, Artamonova told EWDN: “Both applications were developed based on open-source technologies. Artisto was created by a group of machine learning enthusiasts from different units of Mail.Ru Group. It took them just weeks to improve the source code, ensuring higher efficiency and speed of video processing.”

But Prisma, on its side, is preparing a similar product for videos, said Nicholas Davidov, an investor in Prisma, in an exchange with EWDN.

“We’re ahead of our competitors from a technological standpoint. Our superiority will become visible when we’ll launch our own product for videos,” Davidov said.

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