AOL Launches Editions

August 3, 2011 0

New York — Magazines Rock! In a previous advertising video for AOL’s new digital magazine, the project’s lead director impishly called it “the app for when you crap.” But make no doubt about it, soon, iPadsters will have AOL’s iPad app Editions, which launches this week, wants to be your personalized, daily reader for the bathroom, bedroom, and anywhere else you use your iPad.

Like its competitors Flipboard, Zite and SkyGrid, the free app ‘Editions’ will let users culls in content from social media networks like Twitter, Facebook and countless other news sources from across the Web and presents it in a personalized, streamlined, and easy-to-navigate format, but boasts more intelligent software.

For example, users will be able to ‘instruct’ the app which sources they like or do not like and identify keywords that match their interests. Besides, Editions includes a couple of key differences: It does not provide news in real time — it only delivers one edition a day — and it is not a bottomless pit of content.


Interestingly, similar to the real, printed deal, AOL’s Editions delivers only a restricted number of pages so that users can get the satisfaction of reading it the whole way through.Interestingly, similar to the real, printed deal, AOL’s Editions delivers only a restricted number of pages so that users can get the satisfaction of reading it the whole way through.

“We want this to be an exemplary experience,” said AOL’s senior director of mobile Sol Lipman. “Less is more.”

AOL intended to create a digestible product–something you could finish within a sitting. When launched, the app lets users personalize the cover and sign in with their social media of choice (although they have the option to skip this step). They also have the option to select and de-select sections (sports, tech, cooking, etc.), although the app comes pre-populated with content that users can refine as they read.

Articles will be presented in a formatted layout, but only for browsing mode. As the users start flipping through the pages inside, they can check out the local weather, a calendar that pulls events from the iPad (and includes Facebook-generated birthdays), and a table of contents.

Additionally, you can also specify individual sections (like local news, technology news, or entertainment) and select sources for them. You can also connect it to Twitter and Facebook and AIM to see the things your pals are passing around on social media networks, set your zipcode for local news, and enter some color preferences for a more personalized experience.

Similar to Flipboard, Editions trumpets a neat boxes of content which, when tapped, expand to present articles in their entirety. As users read each article, they can indicate which content they want to continue reading. For example, an article from CNN on the debt ceiling deal might be tagged with “CNN,” “Congress,” and “economy.” To customize his content, an Editions user could check CNN but de-select Congress.

To continuously customize content for each reader, Lipman said the app employs an algorithms that consider users’ social media activity (assuming they log in to their networks) and reading histories, as well as the most covered topics on the Web.

Currently, users decide the time they want the daily reader to deliver content. At a future date, he said, they might consider making a second daily edition available. However, as for advertising, Editions currently only shows the ads already linked to publishers’ content. But Lipman said in-app ads are on the horizon.

“We believe ads in a magazine are part of the feature set,” he said. “We want to monitor usage, see what people like, test out a few things, and see what our ad strategy will be.”

But mostly it is awesome! It empowers you with some intelligent customizations, like the address label printed on the front, meant to mirror the one on a print magazine. It shows your friends birthdays and other calendar events on the first page you see. The back page even has horoscopes, for those of you who enjoy reading fiction.