Los Angeles -- AOL has taken its first concerted step to launch an all new magazine-like app designed specifically for the iPad app entitled "Editions", making it the second of what is expected to be a long list of iPad-exclusive digital titles on the cards, which TechCrunch suggests will be very similar to the much-hyped Flipboard news app.
The app, dubbed as Editions, based on the popular Flipboard and Pulse news readers. It is characterized as delivering a daily magazine based on user interests, but that is a vague description which could mean a completely different magazine for every person on the planet, as teased in a video (below).
Editions is "The Magazine That Reads You," according to a teaser Web site AOL has prepared. An iPad featuring the cover of "Editions" with a lead story about "Last Year's Top Tracks" is shown on a desk next to a cup of coffee.
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That illustrates what AOL is aspiring for. You can rank your favorite interests and the app will search the web for content that matches those and delivers it in a magazine format.
While the company has not released details about their latest push into the Apple App Store, they did release a video on YouTube talking about the new app. Instead of the user devising custom feeds, it would work based on interests and collate the content into a very stylized, magazine-like format with a clearer theme, such as music.
The tagline for Editions is rather unusual: "The Magazine That Reads You." The app has an in-built personalization and recommendation engine which automatically composes and delivers a daily magazine based on your interests. Users simply select from a wide range of categories such as: world new, tech news, business, etc., and rank what they like best. Editions will take this info and then go out and search the web for the best content to match a users interest. According to AOL Mobile First Team's Davy Reynolds, "it is like Pandora for content."
If you are not acquainted with Flipboard, here is the skinny: Flipboard is a free Apple iPad app that is promoted by its developer as the world's unparalleled, customizable, social magazine. It functions by rendering the slate's Web connectivity and large 9.7-inch display to cull blog posts, images, video, and articles into an attractive layout that closely duplicates the look and feel of a print publication -- in fact, you can flip through pages with your finger as you would any other periodical. In addition, Flipboard has content partnerships with the likes of ABC News, All Things Digital, and Uncrate.
AOL Editions was unleashed via a chuckle-worthy YouTube video (below) featuring AOL staff members attempting to come up with a creative tagline for the new iPad app. The video does not mention if AOL Editions will follow Flipboard's lead by gathering content from social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, but use of AOL's own AIM Lifestream would not be surprising. AOL Editions would have to at least match Flipboard on these grounds to prove itself successful.
AOL has been busy reorganizing itself since its spinoff from parent Time Warner a few years ago. The new AOL has been very focused on content and the company has pulled together some of the top blogs such as Engadget and TechCrunch. AOL's magazine will join the already announced newspaper by News Corp. called The Daily. Editions may serve as a "portal" to the wide range of AOL content and could provide a powerful platform to draw in more readers and drive advertising.
A teaser video was posted on Youtube to accompany the teaser website. It displays the AOL team at their West Coast headquarters in an environment and style similar to an episode of The Office, with Sol Lipman, Senior Director of Mobile at AOL attempting to come up with an alternative tagline: "The app for when you crap." AOL did not furnished an AOL Editions release date in the video, but considering the company's attempt to position the clip as a buzz-generator, it will probably appear in the near future.