Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Prismatic Personalized News Reader Opens to the Public

Yes, it’s been done before — you’ve heard of Flipboard and Zite and their many competitors — but Prismatic is a buzzy new personalized news aggregator that promises to discover fresh content better than the others.

Built by a small team of natural-language processing PhDs, Prismatic instantly personalizes based on users’ Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader accounts, as well as stated interests, and then learns over time about what they like to read.

There’s also a curating social network within the site, where users can maintain profiles of shared items and interests. (See here.) And users can click to escape their “filter bubbles” and see a list of globally important articles.

San Francisco-based Prismatic has been slowly doling out invites over the past year and multiple people in Silicon Valley have told me it’s their favorite undiscovered secret. As of today, it’s open to everybody.

For now, Prismatic only has a Web site, but within a couple months the company expects to add an iPhone app.

Prismatic co-founder Bradford Cross

Personally, that’s what I’m most excited for — an app that knows my interests well, and interrupts me with push notifications and summaries that it knows I’ll find relevant. I used to use Summify for this, but it was shut down after being acquired by Twitter.

Prismatic’s energetic co-founder Bradford Cross showed me a preview of the iPhone app, and it actually looks pretty cool, with some neat original gestures.

Cross said that after the iPhone app comes out he wants to tackle personalization around local news.

Prismatic has raised $1.2 million from Battery Ventures, Javelin Venture Partners and a smattering of ex-Google angels.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik