Summly claims to be one of the best iPhone apps for reading the news. With all of the news outlets, it's no surprise that we are in information overload. If you are searching for the best news app, search no further. Summly makes it easy to be informed about what is going on in the world, without spending a lot of time reading an entire news story. Most apps that display headline news stories will include the first paragraph of the story, but it may not tell much about the points that were made in the entire article.
The developer of the Summly app for iPhone and iPad, felt that wasn't a lead paragraph wasn't enough. He wanted an app that displayed a summary of the whole article. The wheat without the chaff, he wanted to offer the essence of an article boiled down to a handful of sentences.
Launched November 1st, Summly was developed by Nick D'Aloisio who brought in technology experts in the field of artificial intelligence to help him put together this unique app. While the app is special, what's truly unique is that Nick is only 17 years old and this is the second app he's created.
David Israel, Ph.D, and program director in the Artificial Intelligence Center at SRI international explains, "The core concept is to solve the information overload problem which is especially challenging for mobile devices because of their limited screen size."
The Summly team came up with innovative use of machine learning and natural language processing to create a new summarization technology. They use "genetic algorithms" that think like we do.
Well, maybe not exactly "like we do." Luckily artificial intelligence learns from its mistakes. As I read through many summaries, letters are missing, and particularly dates. The summaries are better than simply reading the first paragraph, but have few of the details and nuances that may be important to the story.
How to Use Summly
The cover page of the Summly app displays news categories—Headlines, Fashion and Style, Finance,Technology, Entertainment and Arts, Sports and more. Click on a category to see a list of top articles from around the web on that subject. A short list of sources includes Google News, the Guardian, NBC News, NPR Headlines, Reuters, the Onion, the Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, and Yahoo. The Wall Street Journal has its own category.
Once you click on the category swipe left or right to see a headline and article summary. If you want to read the full article, swipe down from the top. To return to the cover page, swipe up from the bottom.
If you don't have time to read the article or want to save favorite articles, hold your finger on the screen for a second. A flower-like menu will appear to favorite or share the article on Facebook, Twitter, or via email. Articles that you favorite will appear in their own category on the cover page of the app.
Is Summly the Best News App?
There are a few apps that aggregate the news from the web— notably Pulse, Flipboard and Trapit. But Summly offers a good cross-section of news without having to set it up. While its artificial intelligence may need to get smarter, the app is free. You will get an overview of what's happening in the world through the short summaries, plus you'll know if you want to read more about the subject.