Zite for iPad, iPhone Updated With New Features, Better Recommendations

cropped-zite_blog1[1]The imminent demise of Google Reader is creating all sorts of activity in the news reader market, and Zite is trying to use it to their advantage. This news aggregator isn’t actually trying to become a replacement for Google Reader, and today it made that official.

There is a new blog post up on the Zite blog today, and it touts some improvements Zite has made to their service, new publishers signed up, and other improvements.

There’s a new Zite app out for the iPad and iPhone, and current users are going to love it. The update, which will be added to the Zite Android app later this year, includes a number of bug fixes, several new feature tweaks, and new behind the scenes improvements. Previously read articles will now appear as grayed out text, and it’s now going to be easier to add new topics to your Quicklist.

And last but not least, Zite has made a number of changes to their “users aren’t smart enough to choose their own reading material” recommendation engine. The app now uses a new recommendation engine which is supposed to “ensure that the stories we deliver are a good match for your interests.” Zite says that the new engine will work better at highlighting obscure but read worthy articles while still working to match a use with articles that most closely match their interest.

In other news, Zite has signed 7 now publishing partners, including GigaOm, Atlantic Media, Fast Company, and more.

But none of that is important as one particular piece of news Zite shares today: they’re not going to build a real GR replacement. It sounds like they may have thought about it but then realized that it would not fit with their existing philosophy:

Back when the impending death of Google Reader was announced, we quickly created a solution within Zite to ameliorate the transition of Google Reader users. However, as we explored the possibility of building an alternative to Google Reader, we were reminded that we originally invented Zite to deal with the problems we saw in Google Reader. Though we know that many folks rely on Google Reader for their news, reading every single headline from many publications is an activity for very few: reporters, tech analysts, venture capitalists and news junkies. After speaking to many frequent Google Reader users, we decided to focus this release on a few features that would increase the prominence of publishers within Zite without re-creating what we believe to be a broken experience.

I am going to have to fundamentally disagree with Zite on this point. The thing is, I don’t see the issues they raise (information overload) as being a problem. I like knowing that there will be a backlog of content to sort through any time I ignore Google Reader for the day, or even a few hours. Sure, there is more work involved, but at least I know that I won’t miss something because it’s not current.

I could put it another way, if you like. If I wanted a source of current reading material, I would check Twitter. But for torrential amounts of info I use Google Reader (and Feedly).


Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

1 Comment

  1. kitsune23 May, 2013

    I use Zite, and I like it, but the whole recommendation software kind of alarms me. I mean, if I read a few architecture stories, suddenly all I get in the top stories newsfeed is architecture stories. It seems like you read a few stories and suddenly everything you get is all the same.


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