Drew Olanoff was The Next Web's West Coast Editor. He coined the phrase "Social Good" and invented the "donation by action" model for onlin Drew Olanoff was The Next Web's West Coast Editor. He coined the phrase "Social Good" and invented the "donation by action" model for online charitable movements. He founded #BlameDrewsCancer. You can follow him on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, or email [email protected]
Curation and personalization is the hot space so far in 2012 and there are a slew of apps out there that are vying to bring you your top news every day. One such app called News.me finally hit the iPhone last week to bring us a personalized news feed based on what our friends are sharing on Facebook and Twitter.
Another app that takes a similar approach with some killer extras is called Snackr, which is available on iOS. The Snackr app will not only curate a personalized stream of news for you, it will also read a summary of it out loud.
If you think about the ways Siri has changed the way that iPhone users are interacting with their phones, this approach makes complete sense. Sure, there are apps that will read tweets out loud to you, but that’s not really the most productive use of your time.
I spent the weekend using Snackr and have found it to be incredibly useful as I’m doing other things on my computer. Sure, it’s a mobile app, but the idea that you can have a steady flow of news read to you throughout the day is pretty awesome.
Good morning, Alfred
The British voice of “Alfred” will greet you with a “5 Minute Snack” once you’ve signed up for the app using your Facebook account. When you open your app, you will be greeted by name and before important news is read to you, you’re reminded of today’s weather and which one of your friends are having a birthday today.
Snackr creates default channels in the categories of; top news, technology and startups, business, and entertainment. Each channel will continually update itself in real-time, and each story will be read to you out loud by Alfred. The summary of the story, including headline, takes about thirty seconds per story. If a piece of news interests you further, you can stop the summary and read the entire thing or tap the star to read it later with the rest of your favorites.
Along with stories that you’ve marked as favorites, you can see an entire history of the news that has been read to you:
Not only does Snackr keep me informed about all of the news that I haven’t found myself online, it’s a nice way to dive into some other topics that aren’t your primary focus, such as entertainment. It’s really easy to get lost while clicking around on TMZ, so getting these “snack size” updates by way of your iPhone is a great way to stay productive and informed at the same time.
The app is completely free but it doesn’t seem like the service “learns” anything about you based on what news you skip over like Pandora does for music. The personalization aspect seems to be limited to what the app can find out about you based on your Facebook interactions. I like what the company has done with the app so I’m hoping that it makes Snackr a bit more intelligent. I’d also like to be able to add or remove certain sources, as too many times I’ve heard stories from a source that I’d never read at all.
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