Newsreader iSmackdown: Zite vs. Flipboard vs. Google Currents
Earlier I wrote about Google’s new personalized news aggregator/publishing platform Currents. From a user-experience perspective (on the iPad) I gave it a “B,” largely because it was mostly undifferentiated from a slew of other similar apps. I subsequently discovered, however, that Currents is also a smartphone app, which I actually like quite a bit more.
Earlier this week Google Currents rival Flipboard launched on the iPhone. And today CNN-owned Zite introduced its iPhone app. Both obviously have tablet apps as well. Below are some screenshots of all three.
Google Currents iPhone App
Flipboard iPhone App
Zite iPhone App
You might have some trouble telling them apart if I hadn’t identified them with the headings and branded screenshots. Of the three, Flipboard is the “prettiest.” But as I said above Google Currents improves on the small screen vs. its tablet version in my view (an unusual circumstance where this is the case).
I was somewhat disappointed with Zite’s new iPhone app, especially vs. the tablet app (which I like best of the three). The top horizontal navigation in particular was cramped and difficult to use.
I’m unable to speak to which of these apps does the best job at personalization because I haven’t used them systematically side-by-side. What you use is going to come down to personal design/UI preference and/or whether you’re already using one of these apps on another platform.
Zite was recently acquired by CNN so it doesn’t have to fear competition in the same way that a Flipboard (though it’s heavily funded) or another personalized news aggregator startup does. To make it easier to discuss this emerging category in the future I propose we collectively use the abbreviation “PNA.”