Turning inner space into outer space

December 18, 2011

Two apps that will change the way you consume the news

If I were stranded on a desert island and could only have two apps for my iPad, they would be Reeder and Zite. The first brings me news I want. The second brings me news I didn’t know I wanted.

Reeder is basically a front end for Google Reader, a program that gathers together your RSS feeds and presents them in an easy-to-read manner. Reeder takes this a step further. Feeds come to you in a clear and attractive layout that’s hard to beat. In many cases, you never have to go the article’s original website because of a built-in app called Readability that presents the entire article on one highly legible page. Sadly, many websites are junked up with ads, share buttons and other doodads that dwarf that actual article. With Reeder, you can avoid all that.

Zite is every bit as attractive in its presentation as Reeder, but does something that has yet to stop amazing me. It allows you to give the articles you read a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Based on these indications, the app then goes out and finds more of what you like while avoiding what you don’t like. Zite constantly comes up with news I never would have thought of seeking out on my own — but wish I had.

Of course, the popularity of these types of apps could lead to dire consequences for website owners trying to make a living by pulling in traffic and selling ads. They’re going to have to make their site more appealing than Reeder or Zite. I’m not sure how that will happen, but I predict a lot of sites will be evolving into apps worth paying for.