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Zite : Personalized magazine for iPad may beat your RSS reader

Zite RSS readerAs the consumer of a lot of RSS feeds, both sources and subjects (Google News & Google Blog Search), the news of a better RSS reader always piques my interest.

I’ve been using Reeder on my desktop (mac), iPhone, and on my iPad for most of this year. Reeder, unlike some other RSS readers that fail when you’re managing too many feeds, has been reliable and its share to Twitter, Facebook, email and the like is pretty slick.

I use Google Reader as my ‘database’ of feeds organized into folders. Reader, like other apps, prompts me to login by gmail address and then pulls my feeds from my Google Reader.

Flying up from LA last week, I met Jeremy Kercheval, a Senior Software Engineer at The Walt Disney Company. We got to talking about the curation of content, mobile apps, RSS and the like. Jeremy turned me onto ZIte, which he had been using as a RSS reader.

Zite is self described as a personalized magazine for the iPad. The Zite app pulls in your Twitter account and your Google Reader feeds, then suggests topics based on your interests.

The topics then appear to include content from your RSS feeds and that shared by people you’re following on Twitter. Based on what you then share or like, Zite then tailors what it presents to you. Content appears to come from both what you’re following (Google Reader & Twitter) as well as additional content. Think recommendation engine ala Pandora.

Zite displayed my topic sections as Business & Investing, Social Media, Technology, Blogging, Facebook, Law, and Marketing. That’s a pretty accurate summary of my interests.

The content I’ve viewed the last few days using Zite as been spot on in addressing my interests. I also like the user interface better than Flipboard, which to me seems long on glitz and short on an improved delivery of news and info I’m interested in.

Zite’s share by Twitter, email, Facebook, and the like, though not as far along and slick as Reeder’s, is pretty good.

Zite is operated by a small British Columbia based startup funded by angels and a grant from the Canadian government. Who knows if they have the stamina and backing to scale where other RSS readers and recommendation engines have failed? But so far I like it.

And in the no good deed goes unpunished category, a group of media outlets sent Zite a cease-and-desist letter early this spring. Per GigaOm:

[T]he publishers allege that by pulling in their content and displaying it in a more readable way — that is, without a lot of the extraneous website elements, including ads — Zite is guilty of copyright infringement.

Zite isn’t doing anything more than many apps pulling in content from third parties. Plus it’s still going. So who knows?

Here’s a video from Zite which we’ll give you a taste of the App.

  • http://www.emedialaw.com Travis Crabtree

    Does anyone have a recommendation for an app for Blackberries that makes it easy to read my Google Reader on my Blackberry?