The biggest news this week appears to be Yahoo’s acquisition of Summly – an iOS app founded by a 17 year old boy from London. The application uses an algorithm to summarize long news articles into 100 or so words, allowing users to zip through the day’s news. Summly features minimalistic approach to consuming content and users rely on finger gestures to navigate through the application.
Although Yahoo! declined to comment on the amount it paid for the paid. Reports have been circulating that the figure is in the region of $30 million. Not bad for an app that wasn’t bringing in revenue and officially launched in November 2012.
Since Yahoo’s announcement on Monday, Summly has been pulled from the App Store in what founder Nick D’Aloisio calls a “power nap.” So anyone who wanted to give it a shot and review it is out of luck.
I was quick to download the app when it become available and was instantly drawn by the appeal of consuming content faster. If you follow me on Twitter and Google+, you’ve noticed I do a lot content curation.
I spend about an hour or so going through RSS feeds picking the best articles to share with my audience. So if there was something that could make the process more productive – it was well worth taking a closer look.
- Attractive design, simple yet elegant.
- Summly did a good and accurate job in summarization long articles
- Saved me time consuming content and was great for waiting in lines
- Social sharing on Summly was intuitive – hold down on the screen and the sharing options appear.
- Long list posts didn’t do well with Summly’s algorithm. I had to open up the full article in order to get all the information.
- While innovative, getting used to the finger gestures was difficult. I never got quite used to it and always found myself going back to the main screen by accident.
- I got annoyed when the news feed would show multiple articles from the same publisher. Especially when it was a publisher I had no interest in.
- Social sharing was limited to only Twitter and Facebook
- Links would sometimes be broken
Summly was fun to use in the beginning. Sadly the novelty wore off after 2 months of use. To me it became a news app where i’d only find one or two useful articles. And didn’t offer much in new content discovery as Zite does.
I like products that try something different and Summly does that with its summarization algorithm and finger gestures. Although innovative the iOS app was still a work in progress and with Yahoo! pulling it from the App Store – they appear content to have secured a young programmer and the product.
My guess is that they’ll implement the algorithm into a new mobile application and Yahoo! News.
What are your thoughts on Yahoo’s recent acquisition?