iPad Magazine ZITE Tailors to Your Reading Habits


iPad applications are getting smarter and more personalized by the minute, but this may be one of the smartest yet. CNN.com reports that ZITE, a personalized iPad magazine that launched yesterday, is able to tailor its content not only by basing it on your interests, but by learning your reading habits.

When you first open the free app, Zite requests that you enter your Twitter and/or Google reader account information and you have a chance to choose news categories that interest you. Zite then analyzes that information to personalize a magazine for you. It’s at this point that the app really goes to work as it learns your reading habits: what articles you read; which ones you skip; how long you take on each article; whether you prefer straight news or more opinion-oriented pieces. You also have the chance to give stories a thumb’s up or down, and Zite uses all that data to create a more personalized magazine the next time you launch the app.

This sounds similar to the popular Flipboard app, but Zite CEO Ali Davar said the two are actually very different. “The difference between Flipboard and Zite is that with Zite, your sections are actually personalized. On Flipboard, you pick sections and sources to customize your magazine — that’s what they call ‘personalized.’ But that’s really ‘customization.’ In essence, personalization is a technology — it’s something that learns from you. So, for example, your technology section and someone else’s will look very different based on your behavior–rather than being the same generic thing that everyone else is seeing.”

Zite will continue to learn your reading habits with each visit, further tailoring your magazine and also changing as your tastes change. According to Davar, “”The underlying philosophy of our algorithm is: You are what you read.”

Has anyone tried Zite yet? Is it as smart as it claims to be?

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