App Review: Zite

Zite on iPadThere’s no shortage of news readers in the App Store but Zite stands out as one of the best. Think of Zite as a personal news magazine that scours the internet to find articles you’ll enjoy. After you link a few social media services and pick a few favorite categories, Zite gets to work filling your screen with articles it thinks you’ll like. It does a really great job too.

The longer you use Zite the better it gets. If you read an article you like, just give it a thumbs up to tell Zite it’s been doing a good job. Find an article you don’t like? A simple thumbs down will let Zite know. All of this data is used to continually improve the recommendations Zite pushes to you. If you’re social media accounts are linked up it uses articles that are posted by people you follow to also improve your results. The whole system is simple but creates a great news experience.

The interface is very clean and they’ve added some nice gesture shortcuts. You can easily thumbs up or down an article by a little swipe up or down on the square. To read an article in full just tap it and it brings it up. You can use the built in “reader” mode or view the full Web page. Sharing articles is extremely easy and incorporates all your favorite social media sites, email and even “read later” services like Pocket.

You can set up favorite topics so you can always keep up to date with the latest news on Google, hockey or whatever you’re into. Articles are tagged by categories and you can click one of those tags to see more about that topic. If you like it, just star it and it’ll show up in your favorite list so you can easily stay up to date with that type of content. Your favorites influence your “Top Stories” section as well.

Zite on iPhoneI started using Zite on my iPad at the suggestion of a friend and haven’t stopped using it since. After using it a while I wished there was a way to get that content elsewhere and it wasn’t long before they answered my desire with an iPhone app. The same content in a smaller on the go package.

If I had to give one complaint to Zite it’s that it doesn’t refresh content often enough. There doesn’t seem to be a way you can force a refresh and I’ll find myself flicking through articles I’ve already ready, longing for more. It does seem to randomly add articles throughout the day but I’d like a way to get more after I’ve read through them all and thumbed up and down the results.

Ok, maybe I have one more complaint or rather a request… I want a Web or desktop client. I spend at least eight hours a day at the computer and I want to keep up on my Zite reading. Sure I can pull out my iPad or iPhone but it’d be a lot nice if I could just have a browser window or a desktop app available. It’s a small thing but it’d be a great addition if you ask me.

Overall I can’t recommend Zite enough. It does more than just pull your feeds for reading, it actually learns what you like and don’t like and then presents you with a great selection of articles all over the Web. Go check it out in the App Store and let me know what you think in the comments.

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