Hot Topic: News Aggregators

Last week brought blog headlines back to news aggregator apps, from GigaOm to TheNextWeb.  Flipboard and Zite released iPhone apps, in addition to their popular iPad apps, and Google released their Currents app for Android and iOS.  I have tried many aggregators, and I find a combination of Feedly, Flipboard, Zite and Times work best for me.  (I just signed up for Tweeted Times, and it seems to be of the same nature as, so I’ll be Iumping them together.)  All of these apps are socially integrated for easy sharing, which is a must in today’s information economy.

Feedly (Android and iOS), a somewhat simple RSS reader compared to other apps, has the “magazine look” that has become popular of late.  This app gives a simple, yet aesthetically pleasing way to read RSS feeds and also offers some content discovery via news categories.

Flipboard (iOS) makes reading content from RSS, Twitter, and even Facebook more pleasurable.  There’s less skimming lines of text for keywords, and more browsing as you would a magazine.  I find this particularly useful for Twitter feeds/lists, where having a few lines of text from a link enables me to judge whether there could be any value in the article.  With the number of posts to Twitter per day, anything that helps weed out content is helpful.

I love Zite (iOS) because it learns from your reading habits.  You can link up accounts so it sees what you’re interested in, then Zite pulls content from the web especially for you.  As you read you have the ability to tell the app whether or not you like an article, teaching it your preferences.  Another feature that I find helpful in content discovery, is the ability to add keyword categories.  Whenever I think I’m in a rut, and can’t find any more sources of information, I turn to apps like Zite and Times to discover new corners of the internet. (web app)/Tweeted Times (iOS) aggregate content from Twitter, giving the options of creating papers from you and your followers, lists, or hashtags.  I find these especially useful in discovering new content because the sources are somewhat verified, other Twitterers find it of interest and use.  You can also follow other users’ papers and get updates as they come out.

I generally love all things Google, but I must say, I am disappointed with Currents (Android and iOS).  I think the app has a good look and feel, but as far as I can tell, and please let me know if I’m wrong, you can only view one “magazine” at a time, not all “stories” together.  I.e. open one blog, go through the contents, then go back to the library, choose the next blog and repeat.  There is no discernible way of reading the content like you would an RSS reader, all the newest stories from all added blogs together.  This leads to a rather disjointed experience for which I don’t have time nor patience.

How do you discover new content?  Is it an app?  Website?  Social media platform?


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