Ex-Google employees Tom Charytoniuk and Jon Emerson have announced the release of Spotter, their iPhone news app, which aims to make users smarter by presenting news and articles which matter most to their individual lives and careers. By connecting with Facebook, the app scans each user’s profile, suggesting overall topics to follow, rather than requiring users to follow individual news outlets.
Upon signup, users are presented with a list of recent articles surrounding those suggested topics, and they can refine the experience by swiping left or right to indicate whether each item was a good fit. If the suggested topics weren’t actually relevant, or users simply wish to follow additional topics, they can manually change their topics in the app’s settings.
Spotter’s artificial intelligence technology includes natural language processing to detect the people and companies mentioned in articles, as well as topic modeling algorithms to classify each article into the appropriate industry and therefore share them with the right users.
Each article is presented alongside a brief summary, and tapping brings up the full article, without leaving the Spotter app. Users can bookmark articles for later reading, or share content via social media, text or email. The app is launching first on iOS, and is coming soon to the Web and Android devices.
In a statement, Charytoniuk commented on the app’s purpose:
In my last job, l was asked by my manager to stay on top of competitors and their mobile launches. But because I didn’t have hours to spend reading blogs, I had no way to fulfill this duty. One day, our competitor launched something and my manager was the first to share the news. Then it happened again. And again. I wanted to do better, but I couldn’t. I felt defeated. I didn’t have the tools or the time to stay informed and to inform my team. People in all industries and positions feel this pain. Spotter is the tool that solves it.
Spotter is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store.