Apps

12 Apps of Christmas, Day 10: Zite

Some TechRepublic editors and bloggers highlight their favorite app in this 12 Apps of Christmas series. The tenth app, recommended by Mary Weilage, is Zite.

 

Zite
 

The 10th app of Christmas Mary Weilage gave to you is a useful app that's simply called Zite.

In the spirit of the holidays, we thought we’d create a smartphone series based on a popular Christmas song. The 12 Days of Christmas starts on Christmas Day, but our 12 Apps of Christmas begins today, and we'll continue to post one app per day, leading all the way up to the holiday. However you celebrate this season, and whatever device you own (or platform that it runs on), we hope that you find some gems over the next 12 days -- as these are the apps that the TechRepublic’s editorial staff and bloggers actually use and feel passionate enough to write about. Here's what Mary Weilage had to say about one of her favorite apps called Zite.

Zite is the app I have recommended most to others. Why? Because this free news app is an efficient way for me to peruse the latest content from a vast array of sources on topics that I choose or that falls under one of the Zite preset categories, such as Arts & Culture and World News, in one handy list (Figure A).

Figure A

 

Figure A
 

A snapshot of my Top Stories.

I first learned about the app in May 2012 when TechRepublic Editor in Chief Jason Hiner called Zite addictive. He even included it in his list of the most useful iPad apps of 2012. After using Zite (first on Android, and now on the iPhone and iPad), I agree with both of his assertions.

What I like

When you select and look at a piece of content from Your Top Stories stream, you can vote it up or down; you can share it via email, SMS, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Evernote, Instapaper, or Pocket; you can copy it; and you can open it in a browser (Figure B). The vote/up down action triggers the app to display related topics as suggestions that you can choose to add to your stream (Figure C). In most stories I've seen, you also have the option to increase or decrease the text size and block that particular source.

Figure B

 

Figure B
 

Zite's Share options.

Figure C

 

Figure C
 

Topic suggestions in Zite.

Other nice features include the following:

  • It's easy to navigate.
  • Content is greyed after you click it, so it’s easy to tell at a glance what you’ve already read -- or at least seen (Figure D).
  • One simple way to add new subjects to your reading list is to click a topic that's featured in a box or (depending on how you’re viewing content) click the heart by the topic name.
  • In the Recent Articles view, you see lists of all the recent articles you clicked, voted up (or, as the app calls it, thumbed), and shared (Figure E).

Figure D

 

Figure D
 

Greyed out content indicates you looked at the article.

Figure E

 

Figure E
 

My Recent Articles view.

A new feature in the latest release is a section called Popular on Zite (Figure F), which you might find useful for a quick snapshot of what other users are reading. You can disable this section in the settings if you like.

Figure F

 

Figure F
 

Popular on Zite.

The folks at Zite claim this personalized magazine-style app learns from your reading choices to better match what content to serve you. I have never seen content in my feed that doesn’t fit my chosen preferences, so this functionality appears to work as advertised.

What I didn’t like

My only very minor frustration in previous versions of the app was that I couldn't access content in multi-page articles beyond page one from within the app. It appears this issue has been resolved.

I think the fact that I only have one quibble to report after using it for a year and a half speaks to the quality of the app.

Availability

Zite is available for the iPhone and iPad (iOS 6.0 or higher), Android (Android 2.3 or newer), and Windows Phone (7.5 and 8).

Tell us what you think

If you haven't already tried Zite, I encourage you to download the app -- consider it a free gift to yourself.

If you already use Zite, what do you like and/or dislike about it? I'm only using the iPhone/iPad versions these days, and I'm particularly interested to hear what Android and Windows Phone users think of Zite. Share your thoughts about Zite or offer your own app recommendation in the discussion thread below.

TechRepublic's 12 Apps of Christmas

 

About

Mary Weilage is a Senior Editor for CBS Interactive. She has worked for TechRepublic since 1999.

2 comments
Joel Palmer
Joel Palmer

Zite is fantastic. Loved it on iPhone. Love it even more on my Windows Phone.

Trond Bie
Trond Bie

Zite has long been a favorite of mine.

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