Friday, March 30, 2012

App Review: Zite

App: Zite

Devices: iPhone and iPad

Cost: Free

What is it?
It is a personalized feed reader. Unlike other readers who only pull the feeds from websites you’ve specified, the Zite app gathers new articles, blog posts, and other web content on subjects that you’ve shown an interest in. For instance, in my Google Reader, I have a feed subscription for Gallycat: a publisher/book news website. Zite would take my interest in publisher/book news and find articles from other blogs and websites I may have never heard of before that may interest me.

How it works.
When you first download and open the Zite app, you are prompted to select a few ready-made subjects for your Zite feed and even give the option to add your own if you do not see a subject you want. Zite will then open with your Top Stories ready to read, and tabs of each subject ready to be selected. As you read articles, you have the option to give them a thumbs up or a thumbs down. A thumbs up will indicate to Zite that you’d like to read more articles like this one, while a thumbs down will say don’t show me things like this again. When you give an article a thumbs down, you also have the option to block all content from the source website. This is how Zite learns what to look for to personalize your feed.

The interface is clean and easy to navigate. Most articles when opened are in a clean reader view that has font size options. (Articles that are displayed in web view are at the request of the hosting website.) I have personally found the Zite app to be extremely useful in introducing me to great websites and blogs that I hadn’t found before. It was also convenient that I created a profile on my iPhone with my preferences and was able to transfer that profile to my iPad without having to start all over again. The export feature is also very useful, allowing me to share articles to Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, by email, Linkedin, Instapaper, Delicious, and Google Plus.

A drawback is that Zite is isn’t available for Android devices yet; however, the FAQ on the Zite website indicate that they hope to move this app to more platforms. Also, occasionally duplicate articles appear in the feed, but it’s not really that much of an inconvenience.

Bottom Line:
Given the multitude of content one has to wade through every day to find articles of interest to oneself, Zite is a time and headache saver for frequent readers.


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