I can't keep up with my RSS feeds. At one time, I'd get over 500 articles a day. Even after pruning my feeds, there's still far more than I can read. And, I might be subscribing to feeds I find interesting, but what about the stuff that I'm missing? I want to find those gems in topics I'm interested in, from Aristotle to Zugzwang. Wouldn't it be nice if I could subscribe to topics, instead of RSS feeds? Wouldn't it be great if a system learned about what I'm interested in, instead of just presenting the latest or most popular? It's all about me!
That's why I'm so excited about today's launch of the closed-beta of Zite.com. I've been advising Worio (parent company of Zite) for almost a year now and I've been an avid user of Zite from its earliest alpha stage. I am addicted: Zite is my primary source of interesting articles every day. I've tried out other recommendation systems, but the never found any that consistently deliver high quality articles. I usually test a recommendation system with an obscure topic to test recall (usually "taxidermy") and an ambiguous topic to test precision (usually "product management"). In the case of taxidermy, other systems tend to recommend almost nothing, whereas Zite's huge index keeps me abreast of the latest in the world of stuffed animals. In the case of product management, other systems tend to give me press releases with a quote from VP of Product Management. Zite does an incredible job of understanding the aboutness of an article, which creates high-quality recommendations.
Not only does Zite do a great job of recommending me topics that I want, it also learns about me by what articles I like or don't like. In other words, the more I use Zite, the better the recommendations get. I like to tell people that it's like a Pandora for the Web.
Since Zite is built on a powerful base of technology, there are some other cool features enabled. For example, when you start off on Zite, you don't need to enter in a bunch of topics. If you give Zite your delicious bookmarks, your twitter feed, or your browser info, it will try to figure out topics that are interesting to you. How cool is that?
Want to try it out for yourself? If you want an invite to Zite, just leave a comment on this post and tell me what your biggest beef is about the way you currently consume news.