One of our local newspapers isn’t even printing a paper anymore on Saturdays. This has to be the direct result of the ability to get the news on a computer or mobile device. The Zite app for iOS helps defeat the newspaper world even more by only delivering the news you want.
Zite works by giving you the content it knows you enjoy by scouring your Twitter account and other news-reading services. It then allows you to approve and deny articles as you see fit, which all helps to begin giving you a daily fix on the news that is catered to you, much the same way Pandora caters musical content only around what you enjoy.
Upon starting the Zite app, it asks your for your permission to scour Twitter, Google Reader, Delicious, and Read It Later to learn what you already enjoy reading. If you’ve already told these services what you enjoy reading, whether intentionally, or unintentionally just choosing to read and tweet about certain subjects, there’s no need to do it again here.
This step matches you up with different sections of content. Since I don’t use the last three services, it determined it couldn’t gleam enough about me from just scouring my Twitter account, so it asked for my help in setting up my sections. I picked the sections it did find for me, then went through the remaining sections and chose the ones that appealed to me.
This brought up an attractive page of articles that fit the sections that appealed to me. Additionally, all the sections that I set up are listed in the a column to the right.
After clicking on a story from the front page, it brings it up in an easy-to-read format. If you choose, you can also click on an option in the upper right corner to read the article on its native website; however, it’s so much easier without all those other distractions such as ads. In the column on the right, you can click Yes or No to inform the app if you enjoy this type of content or not. You can also highlight the individual topics discussed in the article. I really don’t have much interest in Sculpture, Butter, Mitt Romney, Caucus, or Iowa. I just couldn’t resist reading about the freshly-churned-butter cow. There is also an option to share the article by sending it to Twitter, Facebook, email, Evernote, etc.
When I read this article, I chose to click on “iPad”, as I do want more content about the iPad, but I don’t want more about such a general topic as the United States. If I like this author or this particular news outlet, there is also an option to request more content from them.
The one small glitch here is that while reading this article on teenagers robbing an Apple Store, I clicked that I wanted to read more about teens. This told me it was taking into consideration I wanted to read more about teens in the Mac News channel. I don’t particularly want to read about that narrow of a topic. To cure this, I went into “Customize” on the home page and added the section of “Teens” in to get more general articles that relate to teens.
After all this additional tweaking, when I went to the Home Page again, it had been adjusted to meet my interests a little more. I wanted to save this profile so that I didn’t have to do all this tweaking again, so I chose that option on the Home Page in the upper left corner.
Not only are my settings changed to use Zite on the iPad, but when I also downloaded the app to my iPhone, it asked me when I opened it up if I already had it configured on another device. I clicked yes, signed in, and all that adjusting I’d done transferred over to my iPhone so that now I could read all that great content there as well.
It’s being able to set up the news I want on my devices that makes me not renew my newspaper subscription. Why would i want to flip through pages and pages of articles and ads to only read the information I want? The Zite app makes me not miss reading a regular printed newspaper at all.