Take one washed-up tech company, add a dash of what everybody else is already doing. Mix well and serve warm, because the response that you’re likely to get is chilling. What you’d be looking at is AOL’s latest attempt to prove that it is a savvy company. It’s called Editions, and it would have likely held a lot more potential in other hands.
First off, there’s the video. It’s 7 minutes of your life that you can’t have back once it’s gone, so you can skip it and read our summary afterwards if you wish. If you’re feeling a bit masochistic, press play.
There. Now let’s talk about what we saw. Beyond the poor attempts at fart jokes and bathroom humor (oh, and bleeped out expletives because cursing is cool) we see an iPad application. Now, we’re not talking Flipboard, nor are we talking Project or The Daily. All of these seem like infinitely better options than what Editions appears to hold. From what we gathered, it seems like Editions will be taking your interests and then curating content from around the Internet based upon them.
This is a grand idea, in theory. However, in practice — specifically AOL’s — this worries us. AOL likely could have spent its money in better places, optimizing its homepage for mobile browsing or changing its search algorithm to provide you with the same experience in an iPad-optimized site. Long story short, something about Editions just feels off, to us, and we haven’t even used it yet.
In all fairness, there are apps that are already doing what Editions does, and doing it very well. my6sense, for instance, comes to mind pretty quickly. But my6sense also does the Flipboard game by allowing you to choose your sources, and the team behind my6sense has put together a genius-level algorithm that’s been working for quite some time. This is an advantage that Editions simply won’t have.
We’ll give it a fair run, once it launches. But resorting to mid-90’s humor for a promotional video simply doesn’t give us high hopes for AOL’s latest product.