Flipboard is rolling out an update to its iOS and Android apps today, giving users more control over the types of content they see. With this feature, the company is further integrating technology from Zite, the competitor it acquired in 2014.
There are more than 72 million monthly active users on Flipboard, flipping 8.2 billion stories each month. Being able to find the right content that appeals to their interest is really important. Perhaps every now and then, you may come across a story that just doesn’t fit into your idea of what the magazine should be about. Flipboard recognized this and took a stab at offering filtering, just like you’d see on your Facebook News Feed. You could mute the user or the site, unfollow the source, or ask to show less of the topic.
This was good, but was that enough for Flipboard’s algorithm to learn from in order to present the content that would appeal to readers?
Today, users can personalize their magazines to make it more relevant to them. If you see a story that you either like or dislike, click on the caret in the upper-right corner of the screen and you’ll see an option to give a “thumbs up” (which denotes you want to see more articles like this) or “thumbs down” (you’d prefer to see fewer of these types of articles).
But that’s just one of the signals Flipboard is using. Once you register your sentiment about an article, the service will display topics/interests to better assess what you’re more interested in. If you’re not a fan of the particular story, you can tell Flipboard if there are specific topics you’d like to see less of. On the other hand, if you loved the story and want to see more, you can select topics that you might also be interested in.
Flipboard says that these improved signals not only inform the system of what you want, but improves the overall platform for everyone.
Bit by bit, Flipboard is slowly integrating the best parts of Zite into its technology. It started with the topic engine and has moved to clustered filtering to improved recommendations. Eventually the company says that it will offer fans of Zite the option to migrate their content over to Flipboard, including their content preferences.
This new fine-tuning capability is only available on Flipboard’s iOS and Android apps.