March 28, 2013
Zite’s launch in February 2011 changed how many of us received and consumed our news on mobile devices. While other news readers were already available for the iPad by that point, they mostly pulled content from Google Reader and made it look different. Two examples of this were first-generation versions of the Pulse News Reader, and The Early Edition. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then to recognize that one of the reasons Zite was created in the first place was to get away from Google Reader. Equally so, it’s a no-brainer that when Google announced Google Reader’s demise, Zite was the first to offer those users an alternative. According to Zite CEO Mark Johnson, the limitations to Google Reader is what ultimately lead to the creation of his company’s popular product. He recently told me that Google’s application “inspired us” to do better. He states:
Google Reader offered users a lot of content, but never in a format that was easy to consume. We changed that.As a review, Zite pulls content from multiple content providers. It then "learns" what type of news a user likes based on their reading patterns. The result is a news reading experience that gets more customized with time.
Google Reader's exitWhen word came on March 13 that Google Reader would cease to exist on July 1, Johnson and his team went into action. In just six hours, Zite was rebuilt to include a way for existing Google users to gain access to their feeds. The app’s new “Google Reader Feeds” section is bare-bones, at best, Johnson admits. However, it does give disgruntled users an outlet during this time of transition. As Johnson posted on the Zite blog soon after Google’s announcement:
We know there’s a lot more to do to improve this functionality within Zite, but we’re excited that we’ve been able to build something so quickly.