Archive for the ‘personalized news’ tag
After Betaworks acquired Digg earlier this month, there was a lot of speculation about what the company planned to do with the service. Today, Betaworks’ New York-based News.me team, which is now in charge of Digg, posted its first update. The plan, according to this update, is to launch a new Digg v1 on top of a new infrastructure and fresh code base by August 1. With this launch, the team says, it’s “taking the first step towards (re)making Digg the best place to find, read and share the most interesting and talked about stories on the Internet.”
The new team argues that it plans to take the lessons it learned from building the personalized news service News.me to Digg. The new site won’t just be a “reskinned News.me” either. Just like News.me, though, the new Digg will focus delivering personalized news based on what your friends are sharing. The new owners are open about the fact that figuring out what exactly to do with the site “will take some time,” though. To get some feedback from the community, the new Digg team posted this survey.
Here are the principles that are guiding the developers according to today’s update:
- We make it easy to find, read, and share the most interesting and talked about stories on the Internet.
- The experience must be fast and thin. Let users go, and they will come back to you. We optimize for return visits, not pageviews per visit.
- Build an experience that is native to each device: smart phone, inbox, Web page. Stories must find the user, wherever they are.
- Users must be able to share where they and their friends already are — on networks like Facebook, Twitter and email.
Monetization, it seems, is not on the developers’ radar quite yet.
Betaworks and the News.me team are clearly interested in rebuilding Digg and the community that once made it the darling of the Web 2.0 boom. For now, though, it still remains to be seen what this new Digg will look like. Today’s update is more of a mission statement and low on details about the features we can expect from the new Digg (though chances are the developers are still trying to figure this out, too).
- Scoopinion: Stories we read.
A crowdsourced, personalized news source… curious how it differs from the billions of othersn ow
Co-founder Mike Klaas demonstrated the app for me earlier this week. The interface and features should be pretty familiar to anyone using the previous versions. You enter your Facebook or Twitter information, then Zite brings up a stream of stories that are likely to interest you. You can improve the app’s understanding of your tastes by hitting the thumbs up or down button for each article. And you can import your account if you’ve already set one up on a different device. (Klaas says there’s a fair amount of overlap between iPhone and iPad users, but he’s not sure whether that’ll be the same with Android — “The question is, what tablet do Android users use?”)
The new app integrates with Android’s sharing features, making it possible to hit one button and share via pretty much any method or social network you want.
For a relatively small company, Zite has been moving pretty quickly onto new devices. It launched on the iPad, then released its iPhone app in December of last year. Flipboard, on the other hand, has a larger team (Klaas says Zite runs as a largely independent unit inside CNN and currently has 11.5 full-time employees) and is currently available only for the iPad and iPhone.
Klaas says that one of Zite’s advantages is that “although we try to have a really good, clean UI, that’s not the value proposition.” Instead, Zite’s focus is on searching far and wide across the Web for news stories, and delivering genuinely personalized content — technology that carries over onto any platform.
Summify, a startup that uses social data to create a personalized news digest, just announced that it has been acquired by Twitter.
This sounds like a talent acquisition on Twitter’s part — in other words, the main purpose of the acquisition was probably hiring the Summify team. Some of Summify’s feature have been immediately disabled, it’s no longer accepting new users, and in a few weeks, Summify says it will shut down the current product entirely. Meanwhile, the startup will be moving from Vancouver to San Francisco to work out of the Twitter office.
The company’s investors include Accel Partners, Rob Glaser, Stewart Butterfield, Steve Olechowski, and Canadian super angel Boris Wertz.
Regardless of whether or not Twitter ends up using Summify’s technology, the deal seems like a good match. Twitter has been doing more (especially in the new version of the service) to highlight news that breaks on Twitter, while Summify is all about looking at the social graph to find the most relevant news for each user.
On its blog, Summify team wrote:
Our long-term vision at Summify has always been to connect people with the most relevant news for them, in the most time efficient manner. As hundreds of millions of people worldwide are signing up and consuming Twitter, we realized it’s the best platform to execute our vision at a truly global scale. Since Twitter shared this vision with us, joining the company made perfect sense.
You may be familiar with Flud as the news reader app that’s trying to build an appealing alternative to Flipboard and Pulse. Flud launched iOS platform back at the end of 2010 with a heavy focus on design — and a simple user interface. Fast Company even gave Flud the 2010 Design Award of The Year. The startup has since launched its social news sharing app on Android, raised $1 million in seed from Ludlow Ventures, Scott Belsky, and Detroit Venture Partners, and is re-tooling its app for Mango, as Jordan reported last month, for release in January.
It’s been off to a great start, but to really offer a service that competes with the big boys, Flud is on a mission to build a personalized news-sharing ecosystem. Today, the startup is adding some important functionality into its app in an effort to do just that, as Flud 2.0 now allows users to create and broadcast their own news personalities. So, in addition to being a social tool for users to discover news content and select the news and information they want to follow, users can now share inside Flud to an audience based around topics or interests, creating news personalities by curating content they find from their go-to daily news sources — and receiving their own personalized Flud URL (www.flud.it/rip-empson), for example.
How often do you see a headline but don’t have time to read the article and want to save it for later? Flud 2.0 offers controls for sorting and organizing news sources, allowing users to read news quickly, gather headlines into “Reading Lists”, to read later at their leisure. The Reading List button allows users to quickly bookmark articles when scanning headlines, which pop up on their profiles and can be checked out by their followers in users’ activity feeds. Pretty cool.
Flud has also added a “Share” button so that readers can push content to social networks, in conjunction with the ability to create news networks — or communities — around particular areas of interest.
Through these new social capabilities, Flud users can create profiles, which become their personal front pages, compiling news that matters — essentially becoming a diary of what users are reading that can be viewed (and interacted with) by other readers.
Flud has also added support for Tumblr, allowing users to push content to their blogs for furhter discussion, adding support to Google Reader, Twitter, Facebook, and Instapaper, as well as syncing across devices so that their personal news diaries can follow them across devices, tablets, and desktops.
These new iterations are an important move for Flud in moving from an app model to a platform model, as it’s one thing to build a suped up news RSS aggregator, but another to give users a dynamic platform through which they can interact, share, and converse with a community of news readers — and the content itself. With information overload and a colossal amount of content and news circulating on the Web, most readers browse through headlines looking for content they want to share.
The ability for Fluders to create reading lists, use the Flud equivalent of “liking” headlines and stories which then show up in their activity feeds and can be viewed by those following their profiles, makes Flud into a news equivalent of Facebook or Twitter. Your news profile shows how many stories you’ve read, which stories you’ve “liked”, what content is in your reading list, and what readers and news sources you’re following.
It’s a great way to discover news from sources you trust, as well as give others the credit for influencing what articles you’re reading. If I read a story that you’ve Fluded, my profile will show that you were the source that allowed me to discover the article. Many of use Twitter to discover news items that people are sharing and reading in realtime, but Twitter is filled with noise and that discovery has to be serendipitous.
Flud takes the better parts of Twitter’s news discovery and gives them their own news-dedicated community, with some great added social benefits. The more you read, and the more you influence others, the higher you rise as an influencer — something you can bet Flud will continue to focus on in the future.
These capabilities add a new level of discovery and curation to Flud’s service, one that should be appealing to its users and help push the service along in its mission to go beyond RSS to achieve that ecosystem feel that readers want and are coming to expect.
If you’ve been paying attention this morning, you’re perhaps somewhat aware of a program Microsoft has in place called Mobile Acceleration Week (part of its BizSpark program), where 12 hand-picked startups can access hands-on support and training to build compelling apps for the Windows Phone platform. MAWs happen all over the world all year long, but I was lucky enough to catch up with some of the participants of New York’s Mobile Acceleration Week, and was pretty pleased with the apps I saw.
Microsoft gives each startup 60 days to push the app to market, so don’t get too excited and start hunting through the Marketplace. You won’t find what you’re looking for just yet. But considering that today’s theme (at least in my world) seems to be the state of Redmond’s mobile app platform, I thought it’d be worthwhile to give you a look at where the Marketplace is headed, and what you might find there in the coming weeks.
Flud launched on the iOS platform back in 2010 and made quite a name for itself, winning the UI design award in 2010 and joining the likes of Flipboard and Pulse as one of the top 3 news reader apps on the platform. The app has since launched on Android, and is now looking to get its feet wet with Mango.
So how did the company bring that award-winning UI to a platform with a totally different style than iOS and Android? In short, they built a brand new Flud — an app suited to the Metro UI of Mango that takes advantage of unique WP7.5 features. Within Flud for Windows, the user will be able to access their personalized news feed just like any experienced Flud user does now. But it goes further than that.
Flud has built in a prominent social layer, allowing users to see what their friends read in a dedicated feed, and check out user profiles, too. I won’t spoil the surprise for all the features, as I’m sure that’ll be announced very soon, but you can expect to see the same features that are coming to Mango on iOS very soon, as well.
The Windows version of the app will hit the Marketplace no later than early January.
You may recognize Get-A-Game from your iPhone, but if not perhaps it’ll catch your eye over on the Windows platform. The app allows users to locate a pick-up game for any sport in real-time, while offering sporting goods services and stores to market promotions directly to users on the Get-A-Game map.
I know what you’re thinking, and I’ll stop you right there. Obviously, if you search Central Park in Google Maps you’ll see one little red pin land smack dab in the center of that 843-acre park. But thanks to one lucky intern, Get-A-Game has geo-tagged each individual court in each park to make sure that users can find where they’re going and get their game on.
The app has integrated with Facebook and MeetUp, with further social network integration in the works. A free beta version is currently available on iOS but try not to get too attached. Windows Phone 7.5 gives a new look to every app, and Get-A-Game is no different. Bing will handle all of the mapping, for example, while the rest of the app will take on that Metro panoramic feel.
Expect to see this one hit the Marketplace in mid-December, just in time for you to make your New Years Resolutions.
The moment I first heard about this app I thought it’d be perfect for my dad, who travels at least once a week. (Dad, download this app.) It’s already up and running on iOS and Android, but in December it’ll launch on Windows with a host of new features that will make it more of a service than an app.
As of right now, the app offers up airport directories, ratings and reviews for shops within the airports, social media sharing, itinerary management, wait times for security lines, and reviews/tips for airports. When it launches on Windows Phone, the new and improved GateGuru version 3.0 will include flight status info, push notifications, baggage claim info, food ordering and delivery, and transit-related features.
In other words, if you fly more than twice a year this may be the app you’ve been looking for. And with versions available across all three of our major platforms, you really don’t have an excuse anymore.
Shop much? If so, you should definitely get acquainted with Taap.it. The app lets users check in to items rather than places, at which point users can purchase the item and rate it. It’s a Foursquare of sorts, but instead of getting points for being somewhere, you get Taap.it points for interacting with individual items, whether it be an entree on a menu or a pair of shoes at the FootLocker.
But the user isn’t the only one who gets to enjoy Taap.it. Listing items for sale is as easy as taking a picture and typing in a little info. The only thing is that I’m not sure everyone will immediately understand the concept and be able to enjoy it. Buying and selling through social media is an excellent idea, and the more Taap.it stays focused on that the better.
These are just a few of the 40,000+ apps currently or soon to be available on the Windows Phone Marketplace, and while they may not be “new” per se, Mango puts things in an entirely different light. So if you’re planning on picking up a Windows Phone, or happen to be one of the early adopters, these are just a handful of the lesser known iOS/Android apps that’ll be making the migration with you.
A few weeks ago, some Google News users started reporting in the Google News Help forum that their personalization settings for Google News stopped working.
The first report was on October 19th, the user said:
I have spent years creating filters for my personalized news and now they seem to have disappeared. Did they go away with Google Buzz? I’ve checked on multiple computers and browsers. I sign in and out, clear cookies and history, sign back in and still just get the default news page.
Google News has been trying to make the news home page more personalized for users over the years. But that went away for many.
Craig from the Google News team said on Friday afternoon that it was fixed but a couple users said it doesn’t appear to be fixed. Craig said:
Thanks to all of your feedback, our team has identified and solved the issue that was preventing some users from being able to access their customized sections. We have rolled out a fix for the issue, and users will once again have use of their custom sections.
Forum discussion at Google News Help.
Yahoo has launched Livestand, an iPad application and publishing platform that offers users a touch-based, personalized, news-reading experience.
The visually-driven app is designed to be interactive, rich media-centric, personal and social. It appears to be a hybrid social news reading application and digital newsstand — a cross between the Flipboard app and Apple’s Newsstand, if you will.
Livestand already features more than 100 different titles from third-party publishers, along with content from Yahoo’s News, Finance and Sports news channels. Yahoo is referring to Livestand as a personal digital newsstand and a living magazine.
The Livestand experience is structured around the user’s content library, and includes a store where they can browse and subscribe to any of the publications featured in Yahoo’s content directory. Publications are spread across categories such as news and politics, arts and culture, technology and entertainment.
Yahoo first announced Livestand in February of this year. The application was released in the App Store in the U.S Wednesday, and will be rolled out to international markets in 2012. The free app requires iOS 4.3 or later.
Personalized News Service News360 Updates, Now Syncs News Preferences Across All Devices and Platforms [Video]
iOS/Android/WP7/Playbook/Web: Previously mentioned News360, one of our favorite curated, personalized news services, aggregates the top news of the day based on your likes, interests, Facebook profile, Twitter stream, and other social services. Today’s update now allows you to tie your preferences in news content to a News360 account on all of your devices so they’ll follow you when you stop reading on the web and pick up your smartphone or tablet. More »
News360, the cross-platform news reader, is arriving on the iPhone today, after having been previously available on virtually all other platforms, including Android, the iPad, Windows Phone, the Web and even the BlackBerry PlayBook.
In addition to the added support for the smaller screens on Apple devices, the service is also adding support for logins, allowing you to sync your reading trends and behavior, (aka your “interest graph”) across devices. Support for Google+ has been added as well.
For those unfamiliar, News360 is a news reading application with semantic underpinnings that uses smart algorithms to personalize your news reading experience. Upon installation, you connect your Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Google Reader and now, Google+, accounts to the service, which helps it determine what sort of things you would find interesting. For casual news consumers, this is an easier way to personalize news as it doesn’t require you painstakingly fill out a list of “categories” you want to follow. Instead, the app makes suggestions, which you can add with a tap.
The app faces fierce competition these days, especially from the likes of Flipboard, Pulse, Evri, News.me, AOL Editions, Zite and dozens of others. While the underlying technology may be powerful, the app’s design, on the larger screen at least, was not as impressive. On the iPhone, however, the look is more utilitarian in parts, which may actually be a good thing.
The company says that the app will also be included with Google TV in the updates that are rolling out this week. To date, News360 has seen 800,000 downloads across all devices.