Zite is a personalized magazine app for Apple’s iPad that gives you far better reading recommendations than any of its competitors like Flipboard or Sobees’ NewsMix. Instead of having to rely on your friends on Twitter and Facebook to recommend interesting stories to you, Zite’s algorithms are only seeded by looking at your Twitter and Google Reader feed. After this, Zite will learn which articles you are most interested in by looking at your reading behavior as you use the app.
I never quite bought the hype around Flipboard. While visually exciting, the app’s focus on social curation somehow doesn’t work for me. It is a highly popular app, though, and few have managed to challenge its position at the top of the personalized iPad magazine category. Zite could be this app.
Zite is not quite as visual an experience as Flipboard, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Instead, the app’s focus is squarely on the text and unlike Flipboard, it gives its users the full text of an article in a plain, Readability-like window whenever possible (or in a browser popup if not).
Setting the service up is as easy as giving it your Twitter handle and Google Reader account credentials. It will then come back with a list of topics you are most likely interested in. The list it created for me was a bit off, but correcting Zite’s choices only takes a few seconds and you can create your own sections if none of the apps preconfigured ones fit your interests.
Learns About Your Interests as you Read
As you read, Zite watches what you do, but you can also explicitly tell it to show you more stories about specific keywords and from the sources and authors you prefer. Sharing to Twitter and Facebook is, of course, build right into the app.
If all of this sounds a bit familiar, that’s probably because you are familiar with services like my6sense, which is currently my gold standard for personalized reading recommendations. Sadly, my6sense doesn’t currently offer an iPad version of its service.
If you have an iPad, I recommend you give Zite a try right now.