Clipped: Your News Feed but Shorter

How do you get your news? Are you the person who sits in front of the TV daily and watches four hours of continuous programming, or do you check it out on the web? Whatever you do, it takes up some of your time, and that can be quite valuable.

What if there was a way to get your news in a shortened format so that you could be kept aware of the events as they unfold, but not get sucked into a long missive with 1,000 words of info that you don’t need? Well there is, and it’s called Clipped. It turns news stories into bullet points for quick and easy consumption. Oh, and did we mention that the developer is just 15 years old? Find out more after the jump.

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Twitter-ish News

We live in a world where we’re constantly assaulted by information. Whether it’s our Twitter feeds, Facebook or just the web in general, there’s always another story to read or another article to add to our Instapaper queue. It’s gotten to the point that I had a realization the other day: I’ll never consume it all. Maybe you feel the same way.

And yet, there is still information that we need to have. Knowing what’s going on in the world is part of being alive, and to keep current, it seems like we have to be plugged in all the time. Clipped is about solving that problem by providing quick information so that you can get the news now, but get through it quickly. It does the skimming so you don’t have to.

Functionality

When you first open the app, you’re presented with this screen:

Pretty simple, you have two options.

Pretty simple, you have two options.

Simple, right? Well that’s the point. You connect your Clipped account with either your Twitter or Facebook account, that way it knows how to deliver news to you. Now there’s no way around this process; Twitter or Facebook or get out, and that’s a bit disappointing. But once you finally do so, you understand pretty quickly how awesome this system is.

I started by tapping on the Twitter icon, and away I went to my new Clipped feed. Each post is pretty to the point. You have a title, a low-rez image and three bullet points about the topic. Somehow, through the magic of complicated algorithms, Clipped can whittle a news story down to three key elements, that way you know what’s going on without learning about the minutiae. There’s no way to pull up the full story either, even if you wanted to. It’s pretty amazing — although limited.

Tap on a story and get a closer look.

Tap on a story and get a closer look.

If you do tap on a story, you get a blown-up view of the image, although in my experience they’ve all still been low-rez. Then you get the bullet points, and a Share icon where you can send a link to the story off to Facebook (if you’re logged into Facebook) or Twitter (if you’re logged into Twitter). There is no share option for anything else, just those two.

Without/With Limitations

One of the things that’s mentioned on the app’s website is the easy-to-use navigation. Well, it is easy to use, but it’s also a little limited. The site shows different categories that you can navigate to, but I couldn’t find it anywhere on the iPhone. In fact, there’s no way to determine where these feeds are coming from. The only way I found out was by reading a recent article on The Next Web that says, “Clipped says it is aggregating information from across 30 sources, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. (There is a credit under each post, but you don’t know who all the sources are, either.)

See? You can tweet stuff — but only from the Twitter side.

See? You can tweet stuff — but only from the Twitter side.

And yet, those limitations are pretty liberating. For me, world news is about getting the news, and I wouldn’t necessarily pick a specific selection of websites to do so. I don’t go to The New York Times because I don’t want to pay for it, and the same goes for other sites as well. I don’t know if this particular system is the only way to go, but it’s not a bad start.

About the Developer

I would be remiss if I didn’t spend at least a moment to discuss the developer, Tanay Tandon. His website says it pretty clearly: he’s a high schooler, and an app developer for both iOS and Android. When I was in high school, I was more focused on buying comic books and trying to get a date (which, interestingly enough, you can’t do one if you do the other). The fact that he’s created an impressive aggregation system and even turned it into a public API, is pretty cool.

Final Thoughts

The litmus test for me with an app is whether or not it stays on my device or if I huck it into a folder, lost forever. With Clipped, I’m on the fence. I like using it because it’s quite functional, but those low-rez graphics kill the appeal. It’s got a very Flipboard-y feeling, but without all of the polish.

That said, it’s still an excellent concept, and I feel like it has a lot of potential. It’s not perfect, but my hope is that soon the graphics will match the aggregation algorithm in its perfection, and that this kid continues making cool apps.


Summary

A news aggregator app that provides all the info you need, customized for you in three bullet points for quick and easy digestion.

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  • Tanay Tandon

    thanks for the article – i loved reading it :)

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