Though there are innumerable opinions on the subject, no one knows what the future of reading on the web holds. However, few can argue against the fact that it will become a much more intensely personal endeavor. Scoopinion aims pioneer that concept.
Scoopinion analyzes your reading behavior through browser extensions (currently, Firefox and Chrome are supported- you will be given an opportunity to install them during the signup process). Once installed, Scoopinion keeps track, not only of what you read, but how intently you read, presumably by monitoring how long you keep an article open. Not all history will be used- Scoopinion only keeps track of activity on its whitelisted sites, which is quite an extensive list, and you can submit a new site for consideration. The site then uses this data to recommend new articles to read. Note that you can also connect a Facebook account, which will factor in your age and location for its recommendations.
Scoopinion seems to take your privacy seriously, which can be a huge consideration when using an app that collects so much data. They’re quick to point out on their FAQ page that “Even though your reading behavior affects the score of the stories you read, you are not publicly connected to the story.”
They also explain exactly what happens to your data:
Information that could be linked to you is not handed over to any third parties. We do reserve the right to pass anonymous analytics data to third parties. You can ask to delete your data at any time by emailing the address below.
The app itself carries with it a refreshing philosophy:
For the story to score well, however, it needs to capture the readers' attention. People need to read it till the end. An outrageous headline can only get you so far. The most insightful stories tend to end up at the cover of our rolling weekly issue. Then again, every reader is different and has their own set of interests. That's why the daily issue is different for everyone, tailored to each reader's specific tastes.
The goal, then, is not just to serve up recommendations, but to deliver poignant, insightful stories that promise to engage. The execution of that goal, even before any personalization has begun, is admirable:
Without having the advantage of much analyzing much of my data, the stories presented to me were an eclectic mix of politics, tech, sports, culture, and most everything between, from sites most of us already read and trust- The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, GigaOm, The Paris Review, and the like. There are two editions- a daily and a weekly- with a magazine-style layout presenting four stories at the top of the page:
...with the main section, and the bulk of the stories below. There’s also a “just in” sidebar, presenting the latest articles:
The stories, seemingly, are never-ending- just keep scrolling until you find something that interests you. In five minutes of browsing, I found no less than six articles that I interested me enough that I read them to the end.
The layout is quite pleasing, too. It’s clean and uncluttered- everything in its place- but it doesn’t feel spartan. Hats off to the designers.
To this point, my only gripe is a lack of Readability and/ or Instapaper integration. As most web readers use one of these two services to deliver their reading experience, it would seem a crucial point to analyze this history as well as browsing activity. Hopefully, we’ll see that in the coming months.
I, for one, am smitten enough to add Scoopinion to my browser’s start page- I’m sure I will visit often enough to justify it. Time will tell how the app evolves, but if its advent is any indication, the Scoopinion’s future looks very bright indeed.
Scoopinion is in private beta as of this writing, so if you’d like an invite, shoot me an emailfrom the address from which you'd like to receive the invitation.