After reading the news this morning of Flipboard‘s acquisition of Zite, I remain conflicted. (Initially launched for iPad, both Flipboard and Zite are content aggregators, presenting a user’s social media feeds and other website content chosen by the user and displayed much like a magazine.)
To some who know me, Flipboard played a major role when I decided to get an iPad back in 2010. After seeing Robert Scoble‘s video of his interview with Flipboard founder Mike McCue along with a demonstration of the app’s power, I flipped. (Sorry).
Fast forward to early 2011, I became aware of Zite, a Canadian start-up. Only a few months later, in the summer of 2011, Zite was acquired by CNN. Similar to Flipboard, I came to realize a couple of features that, for me, put Zite ahead of Flipboard, albeit only slightly.
First, was Zite’s ability to learn what content you consumed, based on articles you liked, disliked and shared, and apply that knowledge by serving you a slightly more meaningful reading experience, often a serendipitous one – I often discovered content on Zite not captured by Flipboard.
Secondly, Zite’s ability to integrate more than one Twitter feed per user account. Perhaps the average Twitter user doesn’t need more than one account/persona; but many business people do operate multiple accounts — either on behalf of clients, or for their own corporate divisions or brands. Quite often I easily shared Zite content to two or three Twitter feeds, and this multiple account integration was seamless with few blips.
These, then and now, represent a level of customization that Flipboard hasn’t integrated…yet. I’m hoping they will.