Launched initially last summer, Scoopinion is a news aggregation Web app that ‘curates’ news based on what you read. It analyzes every news piece that you peruse and, in theory, improves over time as it ‘learns’ what you like.
Now, Scoopinion has redesigned its site, turned on its heels and pivoted from an “automatic social aggregation” platform to a crowdcurated magazine. “That means that we dropped the visible social elements in the service,” says CEO Kobra Koskinen “Now, our users set the agenda according to their reading habits anonymously.”
The Finnish startup has been funded to the tune of €250,000 through Uutisraivaaja, the Finnish equivalent of the Knight News Challenge which is an international media innovation contest.
The idea behind Scoopinion is pretty straight forward and is underpinned by the notion of “frictionless sharing” – the seamless sharing of content powered by social.
The scoop on Scoopinion
Scoopinion was in open beta in its previous incarnation, but Kobra says they put the shutters up for the relaunch. “We wanted to make sure that we can smooth the peaks off and keep the site running smoothly,” he says. So the site is now in closed beta, but The Next Web has 100 invites to give away, which you can access at the bottom of this post.
Once you’re in, you’ll be asked to install the browser app (Firefox or Chrome). Whilst it will take some time to learn what you like, there is a little personalization to begin with. “We do kickstart your profile by recognizing some key elements from your browsing history,” says Kobra. “We cross reference our Whitelist with users’ browsing history to get language settings and top news sites. This would be the first step of personalization and helps us to retrieve best stories from sites you read and sites that are similar to what you read.”
This Whitelist is a list of all the publications Scoopinion draws from. For example, there are more than 250 publications in English, from the BBC and The Sun, to The Financial Times and The Next Web. English has the most publications on board, followed by Finnish (103), German (57), Spanish (36) and French (17).
Given that it’s automated, what type of ‘tailored’ content can you expect? Well, judging by the articles made available to me when I first logged in, it did seem to be more features-based than news pieces, though there was a mix of both.
All the articles are rated according to users’ behavior, so without actively doing anything (other than reading) the readers ‘collaborate’ and rate articles, automatically recommending them to others.
“Our algorithms do prefer longer stories and original content,” adds Kobra. Indeed, the overhaul places greater emphasis on feature stories is perhaps why it now calls itself a ‘magazine’.
On the site you get access to ‘Top Scoring’, ‘Favorite Authors’ and ‘Just In’. “Scoopinion learns as you read and you get top picks personalized with you only having to read,” says Kobra. “No clicking, sharing or tweeting. Just reading.”
As it’s still in closed beta, we’ll see further developments before it’s rolled out to the wider public, and it seems that users will eventually gain access to personal reading data. “We used to have users’ personal reading statistics and that’s something we are bringing back soon,” continues Kobra. “We are going to open your reading data so you can track your reading trends.”
We’ve seen a number of ‘curated’ news apps come to the fore in recent times, and back in December we reported on the perennial favorite Flipboard, which we said was soon to become a curated magazine of your favorite topics. And then there’s also Zite, a personalized iPad magazine that gets “smarter” as you use it. You sign-in with your Twitter or Google account and it immediately starts generating targeted content, and this proved so popular, CNN acquired it in August.
So Scoopinion is tapping into an area proven to be a hit with readers, but it will likely have to offer a dedicated mobile option soon if it’s to gain traction. And it could look to do so on Android, where the likes of Flipboard and Zite haven’t yet staked their claim with native apps.
You can either register now for an invite, or if you’re quick you can get one of The Next Web’s allocation of 100 invites. You can connect via Facebook or sign-up for an account directly with Scoopinion,