News podcast app Swell gets personalized recommendation and trending streams

News podcast app Swell gets personalized recommendation and trending streams

Swell has updated its iOS app for news podcasts and talk radio to add streams for personalized content recommendations based on your interests and trending programming, as well as a flat design.

The app’s new ”For You” section is designed to learn from which programs you listen to or skip and improve its recommendations over time, while a “Trending” category pulls from the most popular posts across the network. Swell, which launched to the public in June, also includes an interest picker to help tailor its recommendations based on your chosen topics and preferences.

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Other changes to the app include a flat iOS 7 redesign, easier sharing options and a redesigned on boarding process.

I’m not usually a talk radio/podcast person, but when I gave Swell a try, I was pleasantly surprised. The app started off with compelling content, and its learning system means it gets better over time. Swell doesn’t serve as a catch-all for podcasts that you want to subscribe to, but it’s effective at introducing serendipity to Internet talk radio.

The amount of content on Swell is still relatively limited with about 5,000 partner programs, but Swell CEO and co-founder G.D. (Ram) Ramkumar said in an interview at GMIC Silicon Valley last month that the firm is in continual in talks with new content providers.

The app’s recommendation engine may be deceptively simple, but plenty of expert data science has gone into it. Ramkumar formerly served as Chief Visual Architect for Visual Search at Amazon’s A9. One of his other co-founders has a Machine Learning PhD from Stanford, and the third co-founder was the Principal Engineer at A9.

At first glance, Swell feels like a niche app for talk radio fans, but its combination of attractive design and intelligent recommendations make it pretty…well, swell for the rest of us.

Swell for iOS

Image credit: DigiCake / Shutterstock

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