Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Cliqz Social Reader Finds News by Tracing User Networks

A new application called Cliqz promises it can better understand what news content is fresh and relevant by analyzing networks of connected people.

So for instance, with Cliqz you can feasibly watch, side by side, the top stories of the day as discussed by U.S. liberals and conservatives. (Well, on the iPhone interface, you’ll have to toggle between them.)

These dynamic story channels are started by creating lists of people on Twitter and other social networks, and then looking at who they follow and who those people follow. This can become a massive computation out at the friends-of-friends level.

Cliqz is now available for iPhone and iPad and coming soon to Android, Kindle Fire and Facebook. Users can create channels themselves or follow and hone those Cliqz has created.

Many complain that in today’s new and old media world they have cornered themselves into reading only sources they agree with, or that people on opposite sides of the political spectrum rarely converse with each other. Union Square Ventures’ Albert Wenger has asked for an “opposing news reader” and Eli Pariser has gotten traction with his idea of the “filter bubble”. (Pariser is also currently working on a start-up project around his ideas.)

Cliqz — though it has an awkward name and unsophisticated design — is an app that starts to address these concerns.

Cliqz is led by Jean Paul Schmetz, a long-time executive at Germany’s Hubert Burda Media. Schmetz contends Cliqz will be faster in finding emerging stories than other social readers like Summify, LinkedIn Today and Flipboard because it is always dynamically scanning these networks of people.

Rather than establishing people who have influence or authority on a particular topic, Cliqz constantly recalculates to try to find new sources, Schmetz said. It also sorts sources by language so it will be more globally accessible than the many English-based reader apps.

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