Former Flipboard competitor and news aggregator Zite will soon become the algorithm behind a more personalized Flipboard. The latter is reportedly paying roughly $60 million to CNN for Zite. CNN acquired Zite in 2011 for just over $20 million.
Zite emerged from the ashes of “discovery Engine Worio.” Worio used search technology to help users discover relevant or personalized content. In a sense it was a precursor to some of the “anticipatory search” and intelligent assistant technology on display today with Google Now and Expect Labs.
Zite maintained a stand-alone identity during roughly three years at CNN. And while the struggling news network offered some “powered by Zite experiences” it never really seems to have done much to fully exploit the news aggregator.
Perhaps it didn’t know exactly what to do with Zite. In retrospect, one suggestion would have been simply rebrand Zite as the CNN news app. That would have made CNN’s mobile experiences instantly 1000 percent better. But that didn’t happen — enabling the sale today.
Despite the anticipated disappearance of Zite, Flipboard is probably a better home than CNN for the company and its technology.
Flipboard itself is a survivor among a group of “magazine like” mobile news aggregators, which at one time included a range of companies: Zite, Taptu, Pulse, AOL Editions, Google Currents and Yahoo Livestand.
Yahoo Livestand was shuttered and Pulse was acquired by LinkedIn. Google Currents also no longer exists. However Facebook recently entered this market with its app Paper.
As part of the deal, Flipboard will create “custom magazines” for CNN built around news shows and prominent CNN personalities.