Google Reader is shutting down. Digg is building a Reader to replace it. Zite built one in six hours … kind of.
Zite is a popular news app for iDevices. It’s actually my favorite. It competes with Flipboard, but I prefere Zite’s straight forward design over Flipboard’s animated eye candy.
The Zite app has always given users the option of adding a Google Reader account as a news source. Users then benefit from Zite’s personalization algorithms to bubble up the types of stories a person choses to read when it shows up in the app. Zite borrows from the TiVo thumbs up and thumbs down idea. If you click thumbs up, you’ll see more stories like the one you just read. If you click thumbs down, you’ll see fewer.
Zite’s presentation of news is better than the Google Reader mailbox approach where reading news is presented more like a herculean chore where I’ve got a massive to-do list made up of things I haven’t read yet. Like a traditional newspaper or a menu at a restaurant, readers browse stories and click what seems interesting.
The claim Zite is making about rebuilding Google Reader in six hours is only partly true and they admit that. They wanted to get the attention of people who depend on Google Reader to provided them with an immediate back-up plan.
What Zite has done isn’t like what Digg is doing. Basically, when you link your Google Reader account to Zite, your subscribed feeds are safe and will continue to supply your news even after Google Reader shuts down.
The six-hour hack keeps your existing feeds alive, but you can’t yet edit those feeds. That’s a feature Zite will add in the future. There’s no folder support. They’re evaluating how important that might be to Zite readers. The Zite App doesn’t index every RSS feed yet. That’s something Zite is working on.
In the blog post announcing this new work around for people who depend on Google Reader, the team joked that there is “No prominent count of unread articles (just kidding, this is a feature!)”
Zite is free in the iTunes App Store