August 8, 2011 / 2:08 PM / in 6 years

New app delivers personalized content

TORONTO, August 8 (Reuters Life!) - Imagine receiving a daily magazine that learns a person’s interests and then delivers only the most relevant content to them, including local news.

<p>A dedicated iPad station is seen in front of an iPhone at the Apple store in New York May 23, 2011. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>

Editions, a new iPad app released last week by AOL even includes reminders about birthdays, marks the company’s foray into personalized news, a space already crowded with competitors such as Flipboard, Zite and The Daily.

Billed as a “Magazine That Reads You,” Editions aggregates content from thousands of websites, and delivers personalized information once a day with local news and weather, and includes a table of contents and a magazine cover.

“It solves information overload in a holistic way”, said David Temkin, of AOL. “It’s your personal daily briefing. It tells you not only what you say you’re interested in, but also what’s happening in the world around you.”

Users can select from 15 sections including business, technology, sports and travel. Each section is further personalized based on tagged keywords, as well as data collected from Facebook and Twitter.

The app has been praised for its slick design and use of local news. But critics complain that the app only delivers news once daily.

Others complain that the app simply forwards users to the original news, rather than pulling the content within the app, leading to a hodgepodge experience and making it difficult to read offline.

“It’s definitely something we’re looking at. It’s a question of how do you do that in a way that’s publisher friendly. Everyone’s got advertising and that’s part of their business model,” said Temkin.

“We don’t want to be in a position where we’re simply pulling people’s text, and displaying it without ads. Some of our competitors have made that mistake and that’s not where we’re going.”

Temkin said Editions plans to introduce ads to their platform but first wants to get a sense of how people use it and where it might fit so it doesn’t detract from the reading experience.

Editions by AOL is available as a free download from Apple’s U.S. App Store, and is scheduled to launch in Britain and Canada in two months.

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Patricia Reaney

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