Ever feel like you’ve been clicking through Twitter links forever? Has your Google reader become overwhelming? You are likely suffering from information overload. Don’t you just want to curl up with your iPad and have reading the news be a pleasurable experience?
Enter: Zite, a brand new, free personalized iPad magazine that gets “smarter” as you use it. Reading news on Zite is a pleasure as you no longer have to go back and forth between information silos. Sign-in with your Twitter or Google account and it immediately starts generating targeted content. You can also choose from thousands of topics like journalism, the singularity or vegetarianism to customize the magazine.
With aggregators like Flipboard and Pulse and publishers like The New Yorker and News Corp. jumping into iPad publishing, Zite differentiates itself by personalizing categories based on your interests through algorithms that learn your reading habits.
Do you tend to click on longer form articles more than short ones? Do your reading choices skew politically left or right? Zite analyzes semantics and the properties of the articles you’ve read. It then gives more permanence to interesting, high quality articles based on your reading and click through habits. In addition to keeping up with your activities on Twitter and refreshing content based on these activities, Zite pushes content surrounding trending topics that you may have otherwise missed.
“If we see something popular out there we’ll put that into your magazine. We dont want personalization to be too dramatic because we dont want people to be gun-shy about clicking on things,” explains Zite CEO, Ali Davar.
Unlike technology such as Sailthru‘s, a startup powering custom email newsletters for Flavorpill and the HuffPo, Zite does not license out its tech to 3rd parties. The articles are presented in reading mode within Zite but can be archived for offline reading. If a publisher, such as The New York Times, has a “do not archive” meta-tag, Zite respects that. Otherwise, Zite pulls in content on an agnostic, web scale.
The free app is currently ad supported and Zite offers 50/50 ad share deals with publishers. In addition, an API is on its way for publishers to insert their own ads into Zite’s app. However, this could prove an arduous process for publishers already burdened with engineering work.
Zite was born in the laboratory for computational intelligence at the University of British Columbia. The 8 person team includes professors, leading scientists in machine learning and is funded by grants from the Canadian Government and angel equity totaling 4 million.
Is Zite the ultimate content browsing app? Its glossy magazine format and smart content stream could prove a real winner with iPad-using news junkies. Today, Zite releases worldwide, but is only supporting the English language at this time.