There’s a moment in the launch video explaining News360’s app update -- now including a desktop product -- where the narrator jokingly notes of the personalized news app category, “Yeah, like you haven’t heard that before.”
In the category of personalized news apps that run on mobile devices alone, where News360 got its start, a beginner list of products also includes services such as Flipboard, Zite and the new Editions by AOL, with more expected from the likes of Evri, StreamGlider and others. Sometimes semantics sits behind such apps, sometimes not – or maybe they’re just sort of semantic, depending on your views of what it is to be semantic.
Says Roman Karachinsky, News360’s chief business development officer, his company’s product (which we first covered here), “is unique because most apps aren't using ‘true semantics,’ and instead are driven by algorithmic data (like Google News). News360 is linguistically based-semantic analysis, thereby gauging a more intelligent swathe of user interests and world headlines.
Data-driven semantic analysis tools do achieve a degree of personalization via coding certain words or scanning social media feeds. Still, most results are simply broad extensions of the algorithmic tools used to analyze the user and offer little higher-level instinctive content.”
Now, the company is taking its approach beyond the mobile world, where it runs on iPhones, Windows 7 and Android devices, and iPads and BlackBerry PlayBooks, to the Web, with Version 2.0.
Since The Semantic Web first looked at News360, the service has grown from 130,000 entities to 700,000 in the 2.0 update, where its linguistics and semantic analysis helps it to monitor and understand some 100,000 unique articles daily. It determines which of those articles users will want to view by combing through their social graphs to find their interests and applying that to deliver articles that also are ranked by quality and freshness, as well as relevance. Users can share parts of their interest graph with their friends and allow people in their social circle to integrate pieces of their friends’ graph into their own news experience, Karachinsky says.
It’s about “looking at a detailed semantic map, including the tone, subject, source, author and much more. Gaining a deep understanding of both user and content allows for seamless matchmaking, creating a, 'reverse search'” effect where quality content finds its ideal user.”
The web version will be nearly identical to the mobile versions of a News360 account. All versions of the application will work together, so users can sync their interest graph across all their platforms – mobile phones, tablets and the Web. Via Facebook or Twitter integration, users get a personalized feed of the same information on each version of the app.
“Start the news on your iPad over your morning breakfast, switch it to your iPhone for the bus ride, and then finish it all up from your work computer when you make it in to the office,” Karachinsky says, noting that the company has a vision of becoming the Evernote of news. (Evernote is a platform into which users plug interests for it to find, save and curate for reading now or later.)
“The main reason we are adding a web app is because we want all user devices to be able to sync to a single News360 account and maintain congruency across platforms, similar to Evernote," he says. "Being available on the web allows for News360 fans to access their content immediately and effectively wherever they are.”