AOL, the one-time Internet star seeking to reinvent itself as a major media player, is joining the craze for personalized news readers for tablet computers.
The Internet and media firm, which purchased the Huffington Post in February for US$315 million to serve as the flagship of its media fleet, launched a free daily news magazine for Apple’s iPad this week called Editions.
Like other iPad news aggregators, such as Flipboard, Pulse, Taptu and Zite, Editions uses algorithms to take a reader’s interests into account in serving up their pages.
Editions users customize their experience by indicating their interest in topics such as Top News, Entertainment, Sports, Design, Tech, Business, Family, Health and Fitness, Sports or Travel.
Readers can also link their Facebook, Twitter or AOL accounts to the application, available as a free download from Apple’s App Store, to help guide the selection of news sources.
When connected with Twitter, for example, a publication followed on Twitter will become a preferred news source in Editions.
Editions users who plug in their location or zip code receive local weather reports and local news, much of it provided by Patch, AOL’s nationwide community news project.
“Once you start reading, Editions will learn what you like [and what you don’t],” AOL said. “The more you read, the better Editions gets at delivering the latest news and information, all tailored to your tastes.”
David Temkin, AOL’s head of mobile, said Editions is an attempt to “take the best of the online and offline reading experiences and fuse them into a single, sleek magazine.”
“By combining custom features with technology that learns about you as you use it, Editions delivers a magazine every day that’s full of the things you care about most,” he added in a statement.
Articles from AOL-owned outlets, such as the Huffington Post and technology blog TechCrunch, open directly in the application ,but stories from other sources link to a publication’s Web site in an apparent bid to avoid the legal hassles experienced by startup Zite.
The Washington Post, Dow Jones, and other news organizations told Zite in March to stop displaying their articles and photographs, alleging copyright infringement.
Instead of directing a reader to a news organization’s Web site, where they carry online advertising, Zite had been showing stories reformatted in a pop-up window without ads.
After receiving the “cease-and-desist” letter, Zite began linking directly to the Web sites of the complaining publications.