Some TechRepublic editors and bloggers highlight their favorite app in this 12 Apps of Christmas series. The tenth app, recommended by Mary Weilage, is Zite.
The 10th app of Christmas Mary Weilage gave to you is a useful app that’s simply called Zite.
In the spirit of the holidays, we thought we’d create a smartphone series based on a popular Christmas song. The 12 Days of Christmas starts on Christmas Day, but our 12 Apps of Christmas begins today, and we’ll continue to post one app per day, leading all the way up to the holiday. However you celebrate this season, and whatever device you own (or platform that it runs on), we hope that you find some gems over the next 12 days — as these are the apps that the TechRepublic’s editorial staff and bloggers actually use and feel passionate enough to write about. Here’s what Mary Weilage had to say about one of her favorite apps called Zite.
Zite is the app I
have recommended most to others. Why? Because this free news app is an
efficient way for me to peruse the latest content from a vast array of sources
on topics that I choose or that falls under one of the Zite preset categories,
such as Arts & Culture and World News, in one handy list (Figure A).
A snapshot of my Top Stories.
I first learned about the app in May 2012 when
TechRepublic Editor in Chief Jason Hiner called Zite addictive. He even included it in his list of the most useful iPad apps of 2012. After using Zite (first on Android, and now
on the iPhone and iPad), I agree with both of his assertions.
What I like
When you select and look at a piece of content
from Your Top Stories stream, you can vote it up or down; you can share it via
email, SMS, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Evernote, Instapaper, or
Pocket; you can copy it; and you can open it in a browser (Figure B). The
vote/up down action triggers the app to display related topics as suggestions
that you can choose to add to your stream (Figure C). In most stories I’ve
seen, you also have the option to increase or decrease the text size and block
that particular source.
Zite’s Share options.
Topic suggestions in Zite.
Other nice features include the following:
- It’s easy to navigate.
- Content is greyed after you click it, so it’s easy to tell at a
glance what you’ve already read — or at least seen (Figure D).
- One simple way to add new subjects to your reading list is to click
a topic that’s featured in a box or (depending on how you’re viewing content)
click the heart by the topic name.
- In the Recent Articles view, you see lists of all the recent
articles you clicked, voted up (or, as the app calls it, thumbed), and shared
Greyed out content indicates you looked at the
My Recent Articles view.
A new feature in the latest release is a
section called Popular on Zite (Figure F), which you might find useful for a
quick snapshot of what other users are reading. You can disable this section in
the settings if you like.
Popular on Zite.
The folks at Zite claim this personalized
magazine-style app learns from your reading choices to better match what
content to serve you. I have never seen content in my feed that doesn’t fit my
chosen preferences, so this functionality appears to work as advertised.
What I didn’t like
My only very minor frustration in previous
versions of the app was that I couldn’t access content in multi-page articles
beyond page one from within the app. It appears this issue has been resolved.
I think the fact that I only have one quibble to
report after using it for a year and a half speaks to the quality of the app.
Tell us what you think
If you haven’t already tried Zite, I encourage
you to download the app — consider it a free gift to yourself.
If you already use Zite, what do you like and/or
dislike about it? I’m only using the iPhone/iPad versions these days, and I’m
particularly interested to hear what Android and Windows Phone users think of
Zite. Share your thoughts about Zite or offer your own app recommendation in the
discussion thread below.
TechRepublic’s 12 Apps of Christmas