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AOL’s New Mag App Uses Algorithms to “Read You”

By Brittany Hazelwood

AOL has entered itself into the world of news-aggregating mobile “magazine” apps with Editions, the Internet company’s free iPad daily magazine that promises to “read you” (their words, not ours). According to AOL, the newly launched app is “the only daily iPad magazine that is tailored to the unique interests of each of its users.” How will it accomplish this? By tracking user’s daily reading habits based on a set of algorithms.

The Los Angeles Times explains:

“Using what a reader self-identifies as their interests, as well as outside trends such as what is rising to the top of the froth on Twitter that day, stories will appear toward the front of the app’s digital magazine, or rear, and be given more, or less, page real estate. The idea is to sort of re-create the work done by editors and designers at newspapers and magazines, who lay out a publication and place stories to communicate to the reader what’s most important in any given printed issue. It’s just that Editions is using software to do this, not human editors.”

The app offers 15 subjects (but not “books”) and users are able to customize fonts, save articles for later, sync calendars with Facebook and iCal and edit sections to include favorite companies, teams or sources. It will include stories from AOL’s Huffington Post and Tech Crunch. And social media sharing is, natch, integrated.

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One Comment

  1. Posted August 22, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always felt that the best ideas are the ones that make you think, “Duh, why didn’t I think of that.” This definitely hits the mark. Although I haven’t tried the app, this technology seems like a completely logical next step for the magazine-reader.

    Not that it matters to the reader, but I wonder how the individual magazine properties get compensated for the articles that get rolled-up into Editions.

    Thanks for the update!

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