On Dec. 7th, Flipboard is shutting down Zite, once and for all.
While not as flashy or Oprah-endorsed as Flipboard or some of the other aggregation and curation apps, Zite did one thing better than anything I’ve ever experienced — it surfaced unique content that I was interested in that I hadn’t already found/read previously.
Especially as someone who used to be an incredibly unhealthy tech news addict back when I was really rocking out on this blog (I used to subscribe to more than a thousand RSS feeds and read almost all tweets marking them read in Tweetdeck after I finished a column), a service like Zite helped me find some of the best content that I would have missed through the firehose of all my streams and not make me feel like I was missing things by not personally scanning that insane amount of content. It honestly helped me rid myself of that news addiction (and focus on other things in life) because it’s feed was so effective. Zite was one of the few news aggregator efforts of the 2010’s that survived for several years.
It wasn’t not sexy or dominatingly visual, but it just worked. Exceptionally.
It was “just enough” design and an algorithm that delivered great personalized-interest content.
Flipboard set Dec. 7th as the final deadline for Zite users this month. I’m trying to migrate, but Flipboard’s interface just isn’t my thing. It feels too gimmicky and the dozens of swipes I have to do to scan more than 20 articles just doesn’t sit well with me. I’ve found myself in Feedly more frequently. We’ll see how they integrate Zite’s tech to more accurately surface news I’m interested in, and maybe I’ll dive in deeper.
It’s all about the curated news feed.
Founded by an NLP and algorithm genius, Mark Johnson, previously of Bing and SideStep, Zite was first bought by CNN for $20 million, who …I’m not sure what they really did with it. How do you change perfection? 😉 Then Flipboard bought Zite from CNN for $60 million and now they’re killing it (taking the tech and trying to migrate users over to Flipboard).
I first met Mark while organizing SND STL, which he spoke at about personalizing mobile news experiences in our mobile-focused track. He was incredibly sharp yet humble and quiet. He looked very Zuck-esque without the bro-iness.
He was a nerd’s nerd, who made a news nerd’s news app.