Turning inner space into outer space

January 7, 2013

Some of these news apps really are disruptive

MediaShift has a list of the most (caution: buzzword ahead) disruptive news apps of 2012.

These apps represent improvements in bulk aggregation, the evolution of the app ecosystem that has produced “companion” apps, as well as some potentially disruptive concepts.

Of the 10, I’m most in love with Zite. Along with Tweetbot and Reeder, it is one of my main sources of news. Zite aggregrates news from subjects and sources that you choose, then learns from your reading habits to bring more of what you like. It’s almost scary the way Zite gives you what you want before you know you want it.

A similar app that I intend to give a try is called News360. At first glance, it seems quite similar in both concept and design to Zite. But as far as I’m concerned, that’s a good thing.

Also on the list is Prismatic. I’ve been using this app on and off for several months, but I’ve never really been able to warm up to it. The app seems awkward compared with Zite — almost as if it isn’t all the confident about constitutes a good story.

Summly suffers from the same flaw. Sure, you can create whatever category you want, but the quality of the content is not always good. For example, the top story in the Journalism category (as I write this) is “Student newspaper earns top journalism award for Hunterdon Central High School”. And it goes downhill from there.

Apps like Summly and Prismatic will either catch up with the competition or die off. Still, it’s good to see developers out there trying to outdo one another for the attention of news junkies.

Of the other six items on the MediaShift list, only Circa counts as a true news app in my mind. This one has real-live editors compiling stories in bite-sized pieces. You can tag the ones you want to keep up to date with. It seems a bit old-fashioned to have editors choose your stories, but you might like it if you find yourself overwhelmed by the chaos of news sources.