360° Coverage : The Secret To Yahoo's Latest News App: One Teenager's...

2 Updates

The Secret To Yahoo's Latest News App: One Teenager's Old School Approach

Mar 7 2014, 11:03pm CST | by

News has traditionally been told by a voice of authority, hence why so many people instinctively believed Thursday’s Newsweek’s story claiming to unmask the founder of Bitcoin. Of course when that...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

25 weeks ago

The Secret To Yahoo's Latest News App: One Teenager's Old School Approach

Mar 7 2014, 11:03pm CST | by

News has traditionally been told by a voice of authority, hence why so many people instinctively believed Thursday’s Newsweek’s story claiming to unmask the founder of Bitcoin. Of course when that authority lacks a strong foundation of facts, it’s vulnerable to being ripped apart by the Internetprecisely what has happened to the 81-year-old Newsweek in the last 24 hours.

Enter a new kind of authority in telling the news, one focused not so much on scoops and truth, but the limited ability of the human brain to process information. Yahoo’s recently-launched News Digest app puts a decisive limit on the endless glut of news on the Internet.

That’s the grand idea of Nick D’Aloisio, anyway. He’s the 18-year-old entrepreneur who sold his summarization app to Yahoo in April 2013 for $30 million — most of it cash which went straight into a trust fund. Since then he’s taken his anti-data-glut approach further by revamping Summly and turning it into Digest.

The service, he says, differs from other mobile news services like Circa, Inside and Flipboard, by giving users a list of what they ought to know and nothing more. There’s no personalization, no limitless stream of other stories they could read. Just a list of around a dozen stories and you’re done.

The app sends users a new digest twice a day, and rewards them with a nifty little animation when they’ve read through the list.

“We want it to be very antithetical to other news apps in the landscape. This idea of formalism and the rigidity of having a twice day digest,” says D’Aloisio. “That’s very calming to me. It’s consistent.”

The app is all about simplicity: a layout with bold colors and straight lines, a flat design and typography inspired by the 1960s modernist era and iOS 7, according to D’Aloisio.

Stories are boldly formulaic. D’Aloisio refers to building blocks, or “atoms” of information that are cobbled together to tell a story. One “atom” is the text, while another is a section from Wikipedia that puts a story in historic context. Another are Tweets related to the story.

D’Aloisio originally created Summly after becoming frustrated with studying for a history exam, and finding there was simply too much information to read. The home-made software he dreamed up was based purely on genetic algorithms, and led to a nifty but somewhat clunky app that automatically summarized news stories as bullet points.

Now he’s learned he needs humans too. Yahoo won’t say how many from its news team are working on the Digest app, which D’Aloisio launched to some fanfare at CES last month, but given the handful of stories it puts out each day it’s probably not many.

Yahoo can also credit D’Aloisio’s schoolwork for once again inspiring the technology he’s coming up with. The teen, who is sometimes up till 2 a.m. taking conference calls with his Yahoo bosses on the West Coast, has spent the last year studying math and further math at A-level, a standard qualification for British high school students.

“In doing that work I was thinking about breaking down news in a computational manner, where you can separate the discreet elements of a news story,” he says. Hence those atoms.

Both D’Aloisio and Yahoo won’t say how many people have been actively using Digest, but he’ll continue to tweak the service in between his studies. “It does mean a lot of traveling and stuff,” he says, but adds gamely: “It’s very complementary to the stuff I’m doing with A-level. When I’m bored with A-levels I go to Yahoo, and when I’m bored with Yahoo I go to A-levels.”

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
2

2 days ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new com ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

3 days ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and MH17 ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Nigeria to get Japanese drug for Ebola treatment
Abuja, Sep 2 (IANS) Nigeria will soon get a Japanese drug to treat Ebola, the country's Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said Monday.
 
 
Japan to aid connectivity upgrade in northeast India
Tokyo, Sep 1 (IANS) India and Japan Monday decided to strengthen cooperation for improving connectivity and socio-economic development in northeastern states of India.
 
 
Three Ebola cases recorded in Nigeria oil hub
Abuja, Sep 1 (IANS) At least three cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been recorded in Nigeria's oil hub of Port Harcourt, where a fatality was confirmed last week, the country's Minister of Health Onyebuchi Chukwu said here Monday.
 
 
India, Japan to elevate strategic partnership
Tokyo, Sep 1 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said relations with Japan were of the "highest priority" for his government and announced a slew of initiatives, including turning the strategic partnership into a "special" partnership and a fast-track channel for Japanese investors.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Three executed in Yemen for having US links
Aden, Sep 2 (IANS) Three people have been executed by militants in Yemen Monday for having links with the United States, a military source said. "Suspected Yemen-based Al Qaida operatives kidnapped three local...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Lena Dunham condemns naked photo leak
Los Angeles, Sep 2 (IANS) Actress-writer Lena Dunham has condemned a mystery hacker who leaked nude photographs of celebrities, including actress Jennifer Lawrence. Lawrence hit headlines Sunday when intimate snaps of...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Three children, teacher killed in China school stabbing
Beijing, Sep 2 (IANS) A stabbing spree in a Chinese school has left three children and a teacher dead Monday. Chen Yanfu, 43, who was upset that his daughter was not allowed to register at the school, rampaged through...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Jennifer Aniston eases exercise regime
Los Angeles, Sep 2 (IANS) Actress Jennifer Aniston, who admits she's "eased up" her workout regime, says it's important to take time off from working hard in the gym to simply enjoy life sometimes. The 45-year-old,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Nigeria to get Japanese drug for Ebola treatment
Abuja, Sep 2 (IANS) Nigeria will soon get a Japanese drug to treat Ebola, the country's Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said Monday. The drug named Favipiravir and developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm Holdings in...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Miley Cyrus: The internet is more damaging than drugs
Miley Cyrus thinks the internet ''hurts your brain'' more than drugs. The 21-year-old singer believes social media - such as Facebook and Instagram - causes more damage to your mental health than smoking cannabis. She...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Britney Spears in contact with ex-boyfriend from 6 years ago
Britney Spears is reportedly in contact with her ex-boyfriend from six years ago. The 'Piece of Me' hitmaker only split from her beau David Lucado last week after it emerged he'd allegedly cheated on her and now the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Joan Rivers may end up 'as a vegetable' or in 'wheelchair'
Joan Rivers' doctors fear she may end up ''as a vegetable'' or ''needing a wheelchair'' after she suffered a cardiac arrest last week. The 81-year-old comedienne's relatives are reportedly preparing themselves for the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kate Upton will 'pursue anyone' who shares naked photos of her
Kate Upton's lawyer will ''pursue anyone'' who shares naked pictures of her. Nude photographs of the 22-year-old model were reportedly leaked online after her mobile phone's online storage system iCloud was allegedly...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
'Ukrainian conflict has escalated into war'
Kiev, Sep 1 (IANS) Ukrainian Defence Minister Valeriy Geletey Monday said the conflict in eastern Ukraine between government troops and pro-independence insurgents has escalated into a "war". "A great war came at our...
Read more on Politics Balla