Welcome to Tech Wars. The series where 2 similar tech tools fight it out for my good opinion :)
I’ll share pros and cons of each tool, and in the end, one may or may not emerge victorious.
Today’s contenders are 2 AI tools.
🥊 On one side of the ring, we have Fathom—an AI notetaker for summarizing and transcribing video calls, and then some.
🥊 On the other, we have SummarAIze—an AI tool for repurposing audio content and video content as usable snippets across a variety of channels.
Before we dive in, I want to offer a disclaimer that this analysis is based on my own personal experience with each tool, and my views on AI (which are overwhelmingly positive!). But each business and team operates differently, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
"All new technology comes with risks, and the choice of how to balance those risks with the potential rewards will depend on the specific business context and data" (see Harvard Business Review).
That said, let’s dive in.
🥊 Fathom AI notetaker review
Fathom is an app that sits on your Zoom app (and now also on Google Meet or Microsoft Teams) and automatically inserts a recorder to the call.
But as far as AI notetakers go, Fathom is in a league of its own, IMHO.
Because it's not just going to give you straight-up AI transcription. It's going to give you a transcript on steroids that you can work right into your project or client management process.
Let’s start with the pros.
Fathom AI: The pros
Free high-quality transcript and summary
The full free transcript is the product’s bread-and-butter benefit. The transcript is high-quality and includes a shareable AI summary, as well as a list of questions asked, organized by the person who asked them.
This allows you to give your full attention to the call, and listen without multitasking. Because, who are we kidding?
Now, I will note that there IS a paid team plan that includes additional features, but it’s not necessary for most small businesses I know. The free plan includes unlimited use and unlimited company members, with no time limit on how long it will stay free for.
Highlights, reactions, and action Items
Fathom enables you to highlight certain sections of the call with a click of a button. Even if you begin the highlight midway through, it’s smart enough to backtrack and summarize from when the person began speaking.
You can also share feedback, thoughts, and reactions, or mark a technical question asked by participants.
After the call, you can easily review, extend, shorten, and share marked items or highlights, plus add even more. Here’s what a highlight screen looks like:
Project management and CRM tool integrations
If you use Slack, HubSpot, SalesForce, Asana, Google Docs, or Microsoft Word as your project management tool or CRM tool, you’ll be able to integrate action items you marked during the call seamlessly into your process.
Just click on the summary of the call, and you'll see all of the action items listed there. You can push each one directly to your tool, enabling you to mark it, edit it, or delete it from your existing central location.
💡Pro tip: If your team uses Slack, you can connect certain highlight options to a specific Slack channel. So let’s say you want to push technical questions to your tech team. You can set it up so that marked highlights automatically get posted to the help desk channel. Since Slack is live, they'll see that clip and transcript right away—while you’re still on the call—and they can give an answer on the spot.💡
💡Pro tip: If you’re using HubSpot, check out these instructions from HubSpot on maximizing your integration capabilities.💡
Great customer experience
Between the built-in GDPR compliance, the 7-language recognition capabilities, and their fast and transparent customer support, my experience with Fathom has been nothing but smooth sailing. I am a very happy customer and I recommend the tool all the time.
Fathom AI: The cons
Let’s move onto Fathom’s few (but potentially significant) drawbacks. Most of these really only apply if you’re looking at Fathom as a content repurposing tool, but it’s worth noting that Fathom is not designed for repurposing content for social media.
Speaker view only
There is only one view option with Fathom, and that’s speaker view, which includes screenshares. Speaker view is great if you’re using the software to jog your memory, or to revisit important points on a call. But it’s less savory if you want to post a snippet in the gallery view, or create a branded meme that does not include an all-access view of your client’s personal desktop….
Doesn’t integrate well with content repurposing apps
Unlike other call recorders, the output you get from Fathom’s transcript isn't really friendly for easy integration with apps for auto-generating social media visuals (like BannerBear).
Hard to figure out how to set up for Google or Microsoft (for now)
I'm saying this hesitantly, because this update is brand new and because I’m *not* an avid user of Google Meets or Microsoft Teams, but at the moment, I can not figure out how to set up Fathom for anything other than Zoom. I’m sure that once they update their FAQs, this will change, but as of today (July 2023), that is officially a drawback for me.
🥊 SummarAIze Review
SummarAIze uses AI to split up audio or video recordings into usable snippets for a variety of channels. It’s a great tool for anyone looking for easy ways to repurpose content.
(And if you’re not looking for easy ways to repurpose content, might I ask, why not? You can learn more about the importance of content repurposing and best content repurposing practices in this primer article from the Ahrefs blog.)
Let’s dig in.
SummarAIze: The Pros
Now, I’m calling these “transcripts” in quotation marks because if you’re imagining a straight-up AI transcription of your recording, you couldn’t be farther off. These are mega-powered transcripts collated by subject, complete with headings, subheadings, pull quotes, times stamps, and even relevant Twitter threads.
Upload from URL, cloud, or desktop
SummarAIze allows for a variety of input formats for audio or video. You can upload directly from YouTube, Google Drive, Dropbox, or your computer, and soon there will be even more options.
Creates content for various channels
When it’s done parsing your recording, you’ll see a menu on the left of assets you can use for specific output channels including YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and email—as well as general cataloging that is relevant across the board—like keywords, promo content, titles, highlights, and a full AI transcript.
Easy to use with image generator apps
While there are currently no direct integration options, it’s very easy to pull headlines and quotes from SummarAIze and input them into an app for creating visuals or memes, like BannerBear. So I count this as a pro.
Multiple blog formats
SummarAIze recently released an update that enables you to create blog posts in multiple formats including Standard (available for all users), How-to lists (paid plans only), and Checklist (paid plans only). I especially like this for podcast repurposing, and I'll definitely be trying it out!
Automated speaker bios
You fill out a form before you upload the recording, and SummarAIze uses this to come up with a handy little copy-paste-able blurb about each speaker. I find this very handy for podcast and interview snippets.
Flexible pricing options (+ 60 free minutes)
Once you’ve exhausted the 60 free minutes you get when you sign up, you have the option to choose between membership-based pricing or pay as you go, depending on how much you intend to use it.
Great customer support
Like with Fathom, I’ve been super impressed with SummarAIze’s customer support staff. They are also active and responsive on LinkedIn, which is a bonus for LinkedIn fiends like me!
SummarAIze: The cons
As was the case with Fathom, most of SummarAIze’s “cons” only apply if you’re trying to use the tool for something it wasn’t designed for. So let’s all be clear that SummarAIze is *NOT* a project management or client management tool, and you’ll be tremendously frustrated if you try to use it as such.
Not 100% publish-ready
Let’s not forget that this is an AI tool at the end of the day, and sometimes, well….it sounds like one. You might find that the texts SummarAIze suggests are not 100% publish ready, and they need to be tweaked for readability or tone. But I still think they’re more than just a great start.
💡 Pro tip: Try putting the texts you get into ChatGPT with a prompt to help make the tone more on-brand. I like to use: “Please rewrite the following as an ISFJ” (which is my Myers-Briggs type). 💡
No mix and match
If you talk about a topic at the beginning and then at the end, the AI does not yet have the capability of recognizing those two topics as related and putting them together. Maybe this is something they’ll develop in the future. Or maybe this is something only humans can do…
No video export
Basic UI (for now)
Currently, the UI still looks and feels a bit clunky, but I believe that’s just because they’re so new. Based on what I’ve seen from the brand, they’re committed to constantly updating and improving their product, and I know their UI is going to get much better soon.
Recap: The contenders at a glance
Before I weigh in on who has found their way to my heart most, let’s recap the pros and cons of each tool.
Fathom AI -
- Free high-quality transcript and summary
- Highlights, reactions, and action Items
- Project management and CRM tool integrations
- Great customer experience
- Not intended for content repurposing
- Speaker view only
- Doesn’t integrate well with content repurposing apps
- Hard to figure out how to set up for Google or Microsoft (for now)
- Supercharged “transcripts”
- Upload from URL, cloud, or desktop
- Creates content for various channels
- Easy to use with image generator apps
- Multiple blog formats
- Automated speaker bios
- Flexible pricing options (+ 60 free minutes)
- Great customer support
- Not intended for project or client management
- Not 100% publish-ready
- No mix and match
- No video export
- Basic UI (for now)
And the winner is
If I could cheat and choose 2 winners, Fathom would win for project management integration and SummarAIze for content repurposing, for sure.
But if I had to choose a single favorite, my pick (by a hair) would be….
Because as much as I believe in the power of content repurposing, process and workflow are the beating heart of my business. And Fathom has given me so much—for free might I stress—to help improve client communication, the client journey, and my internal workflow.
I don’t think I could work without it!