Product of the year
You thought 2022 was OpenAI’s year. Then came 2023, a year when the pace of AI innovation was set to turbo speed.
ChatGPT had already started to cement itself into the browser bookmarks of young generations and was on to becoming a household name that even your most technically challenged relatives recognized.
Then Google, hoping to claim recognition for all the AI progress it was quietly working on, launched Bard, its ChatGPT competitor that’s powered by the company’s own “it” model, Gemini. But just over a month later, OpenAI reclaimed much of the spotlight with GPT-4.
The newer model is trained on more recent data, understands context much better than its predecessor, and can handle complex instructions. It can take a bar exam and land in the top 10% of test takers (GPT-3.5 scored in the bottom 10%).
With GPT-4 under the hood (and DALL-E 3 added later in the year), ChatGPT crossed 100 million weekly users before 2023 was over. What's more, there are thousands of products and bots that were built with GPT-4 and GPT-4 Turbo this year, including some of the other 2023 Product of the Year nominees.
Those nominees created some of the best productivity features and most useful applications of generative AI that we saw in 2023, from Arc Browser’s AI file renaming to Notion’s AI database autofill.
Perhaps 2024 is the year OpenAI will make room on the podium for another competitor, but Sam Altman has proven he’s not budging.
The best in each category
We often times say that tools are a developer’s best friend, and in 2023 that was no different. In a year marked by massive technological innovation, the software engineering industry embraced the change by incorporating technologies like AI into their tools to automate things like code reviews and debugging processes. All in an effort to make developer’s lives that bit easier.
Big companies like Github threw their hat in the ring with Copilot X. Smaller teams also had their say, like one of this year’s runners-up: Warp.
Two engineering themes in 2023 that continued from previous years include making APIs easier and creating tools that help shorten the gap that exists between developers and other teams (often marketing, if we're being honest). Resend exists at the intersection of these two persisting trends: a tool for developers to build, test, and deliver transactional emails at scale.
It’s been a rollercoaster year for design tools. Like many of their counterparts, design tool companies had to adapt to a quickly changing industry with the rise of AI. Coupled with the doomed Adobe-Figma acquisition, it felt like the industry was always in the news.
Design tools launched in plenty last year, but some stood out more than others. Ones that zoned in on collaboration, AI integration, and animation were rewarded by the community for their innovation.
This year's nominations reflect that. Jitter, the winner, makes animation accessible to the masses, and Framer AI allows you to spin up a landing page in minutes.
What is the future of the no-code category now that generative AI is here? That’s the question the finalists had us asking now that plain English can generate a whole website in an instant.
The winner of this category also uniquely reminds us that just because something is quick doesn’t mean it has to be dirty. Bento reimagined personal websites and link-in-bio pages to be rich, beautiful places on the internet that function well, too.
“That's so much better than the boxy buttons and flat grids we see in other link-in-bio tools,” thought the Product Hunt community as it catapulted Bento to the 7th most upvoted product of 2023. Linktree agreed, and it acquired Bento later in the year.
In the past few years, the fields of Data & Data Security have been marked by makers trying to make data easier and more flexible for everyone, not just data analysts and cybersecurity experts.
This year's winner for best tool in data, Equals, started by reinventing the spreadsheet with its first launch in 2022. Following a $16M Series A, Equals went through 2023 consistently shipping new features and improvements to make spreadsheets more capable. That included added AI features and of course, the launch of Dashboards, which offers a way to instantly turn spreadsheets into dashboards powered by live data.
According to Github’s Octoverse report, 2023 saw the largest number of first-time open-source contributors. Open source pulls on the heartstrings of makers everywhere. It’s an industry that prides itself on being collaborative and community-driven.
Open source is everywhere. It's embedded into our way of life, whether you know it or not. Everything from frameworks and databases to dev tools (Novu) to some of the most popular AI models in the world (Stable Diffusion) rely on open-source contributors to keep shipping.
The finalists in this year’s Best AI Products category demonstrate how far generative AI has come in understanding complex prompts, from generating an entire website with 3D animation (Dora AI) to high-quality video (Pika) with plain English.
Just like last year, big tech companies like Google and Microsoft go head to head with innovative newcomers for the title. As access to AI models, AI infrastructure, and AI platforms expand (like OpenAI’s app store for GPTs), we expect to see more varied makers in this space creating the next big thing.
Did it feel like every product in your stack was getting an AI makeover in 2023? It’s not just the Baader–Meinhof phenomenon. We saw so many of our favorite products iterate with new AI features that we had to create an entirely new award category this year.
We were inspired by how quickly makers shipped these products and how teams reimagined new solutions to the problems they had initially set out to solve, this time with the help of AI. In fact, many makers told us some version of “We had always wanted to do this, but the technology finally caught up.”
The nominees in this category are recognized for incorporating AI fluidly into their products. They generate the content that we need exactly when we need it, do heavy lifting that used to take hours, develop artificial personas from thin air, and truly delight us along the way.
OpenAI gave us two of the best AI models this year and packed them into one glorious chatbot. That’s hard to beat.
Don’t miss the forest for the trees, though. Large language models advanced across the board, giving us generative AI capabilities that most of us couldn’t have imagined a year prior. We can generate entire websites, presentation decks, and avatars from a bit of text. We can create an image of whatever we imagine - and “make it more” if we want to.
As more AI models and products emerge, tools to help build, improve, and monitor them are more important than ever, and so emerges a new category in the Golden Kitty Awards.
The finalists in this category help AI makers choose the right AI API for their products and switch between them (EdenAI), create and deploy LLM plugins (Langdoc) or LLM apps (LLM Spark) quickly, and trace and debug complex LLM applications (Langfuse).