Home > Social Media > Introducing Zite, the iPad’s Smartest Magazine Yet

Introducing Zite, the iPad’s Smartest Magazine Yet

Watch out, Flipboard. As of Wednesday, you have some serious competition: a free app called Zite that is constantly learning what you like to read on the iPad and creating a magazine finely tailored to your needs.

Many iPad owners who have used the free Flipboard app for any length of time are familiar with its promise and its shortcomings. Sure, it looks cool — enter your Twitter name and Facebook account, and it turns those feeds into a magazine, complete with gorgeous photos, headlines and virtually flippable pages. That’s why Apple named it iPad app of the year for 2010. The app also offers its own curated news feeds and can now plug into your Flickr account.

But how often do you actually read it? Does Flipboard really help you discover content that got buried in your Twitter feed overnight? How’s that unfiltered Facebook feed in magazine form working out for you?

“What’s broken is there’s so much stuff out there, and I don’t know how to get to it,” says Ali Devar, Zite’s founder and CEO. “There’s no automatic system that’s catching the important stuff I miss every day. Search doesn’t solve it. Social doesn’t solve it. A lot of [Zite beta testers] came back to us and said, ‘Thank goodness, here’s something that gives me my content and more, but filters it for me.’ People are feeling the pain, and they need it resolved.”

Zite pulls in stories from your Twitter feed, if you wish, or your Google Reader account. Neither are necessary. You can also choose from hundreds of topics you’re interested in or start with the plain-vanilla version of the magazine. That also is not required. Every story comes with thumbs up and thumbs down icons and a button to request more of that kind of story. But none of this is truly important.

The app’s secret sauce is this: It learns from your everyday reading. It’s constantly watching what kind of stories you click on, how long those stories are, how long you’re reading them for — and just as importantly, the stories you don’t click on. (It’ll give you less of those.) Just as Netflix and Amazon bring you movies and products that users similar to you liked, Zite is doing constant behind-the-scenes comparisons between readers, both inside the app and on the web in general.

“You should be able to notice right away that Zite is giving you stories that are meaningful to you,” says Devar. — Mashable

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