Mobile has undeniably redefined the way we get our information. Smartphones, and also tablets, have helped us create new news consumption habits that would have seen ludicrous only eight years ago. Now, it takes us only thirty seconds standing on a line, or travelling on the bus or the subway, for us to take out our phones and to start reading the latest news in the format of our choice. This is deeply changing the way media develops its content, and has even lead to treating news with far more depth, after all, people are spending lots of time reading again. But this isn’t the only substantial change that’s occurring in the news. Another big change has to do with information overflow. Such permanent exposition to so many news sources is beginning to produce saturation, leading people to lose track on what’s really important.
With half a dozen news 24 hour news networks broadcasting news all day long, seven days a week; thousands of news sites publishing stories constantly throughout the day, every day; and will tens of thousands of bloggers creating some amazing content worth reading, it is only natural that as readers we are becoming numb and overwhelmed. And, even worse, that we are losing our capacity to distinguish what’s important information, from what’s not. Fortunately, a few startups set themselves to solve this problem.
Next, we will review some of the best smart news applications, which allow users to get only relevant information, sorted in a way that allows them to pick just that that interests them, and acting as a wall against the tsunami of information we are constantly receiving:
Flipboard is one of the most aesthetically pleasing Apps at Google Play and the App Store. It is basically a news and digital magazines aggregator that is also compatible with social media’s newsfeeds, which allows users to browse through all kinds of content in a single very pleasing space, where focus is put in one content at a time. However, what makes Flipboard really interesting is its recent addition of a news curation software, designed by its former rival Zite, which lets the app deliver to each user only that content that is really relevant to him or her. Thanks to a powerful Artificial Intelligence core, Zite learns from users’ habits and interactions, and constantly perfects the content selection it displays. It was thanks to this great power that the app was first bought by CNN for $20 to $25 million dollars in 2011, and later on bought by Flipboard in a deal that the press estimates may have been as high as $60 million, in order to improve its own application.
This way, Flipboard not only is helping millions of people improve their content consumption experience on their mobile devices, but also to curate that content to remove that that is not relevant for that particular person.
Esta App es un poco más compleja que Flipboard, y su foco no es tanto estético, como el de recomendar todo tipo de contenido en base a tres pilares: los intereses del usuario, lo que comparten sus amigos y a quienes siguen en las redes sociales, y la posibilidad de compartir contenido.
While its sleak and simple design may indicate otherwise, this App is actually a bit more complex than Flipboard.
Based on information like the user’s interests, the people he or she follows on the social networks, and the kind of content he or she shares, Prismatic delivers amazing content recommendations. And what’s even more important, it allows users to improve the experience, by letting the application know when something that was shown is not relevant. And this doesn’t just apply to news, as the App also includes content such as blogposts, videos, and memes shared on the social networks.
Founded in April 2012 and accelerated by Y Combintor in Silicon Valley, this startup has raised $15 million in funding, it used to nurture and develop its complex AI engine, which uses machine learning techniques to learn more about the user, his or her friends, and their habits, to do a better job every time it is used.
This App is available for iOS, and also on a web version, which makes it available in virtually every device.
As the most recent of these apps, Trendio has taken a slightly different path than its competitors. Instead of focusing on the individual differences of each user, this App is constantly watching what’s going on the social networks and in the comment section of the most significant news outlets, and uses this information to sort its content in accordance to what people are discussing the most. This way, news filtering occurs in a natural way, based on the Wisdom of Crowds principle to determine the real importance of every story, and the impact it is actually having on public opinion.
A big advantage of this application, is that it also allows content to be filtered by section, which makes it possible to learn what’s trending in politics, in sports, in showbusiness, and in many other areas. Adittionally, it allows its users to apply a geographical filter, so that it only focus on the news that are tending on their area, or to discover what matters in other parts of the world. And through MyTrendio, a function that allows users to get only relevant news according to their interests, people can create a pretty customized newsfeed.
Trendio’s original approach is only possible thanks to its news grouping algorithm, which makes up a substantial part of its Artificial Intelligence engine, which is capable of discovering social conversations referred to every news, even when they do not include a link to any particular story, or any news site. This way this app can determine what people are talking about up to the minute, and to sort news not just based on the volume of conversations that are occurring about them, but also on the speed on which they are happening. This also allows it to determine whether a topic is just volatile trend, or a matter that really concerns public opinion, and that has been discussed for days.
With different approaches, and technologies to make them happen, smart news applications are gaining a fast momentum among users, who are looking for new ways to fight content saturation.