There are plenty of news readers in the iOS App Store, and these are designed to help you stay on top of the latest information by using RSS feeds or some other way. During the previous six months, news readers went through a process of becoming self-sufficient since Google Reader seized to exist. This made many popular news readers to compete even more, which resulted in overhauled interfaces and some very interesting and innovative features.
In today’s article we’ll take a look at Gist, which is a news reader but which doesn’t use RSS feeds. What this application does is download articles from Google News and automatically summarizes them into a few bullet points. This way you can quickly skim through articles, so if there’s one that you’re particularly interested in, you can still read its full content. This application is priced at $2 and is available in the iOS App Store.
As you can see from the screenshots, Gist uses iOS7-inspired flat design which looks and feels very well. Colors and contrasts are very interesting and they make reading very comfortable. This application is designed to function similar to any RSS reader and it brings a lot of standard tools like sharing, making lists of favorites, searching through articles, and so on. I also liked that those two toolbars (positioned on the top and at the bottom of the screen) are able of changing throughout the application, so even though there are a lot of tools and options, these won’t affect elegant and clean interface design.
When you open Gist for the first time, it will automatically download articles from Google News. You’ll need to tap the menu icon where you’ll see a nicely designed menu containing a list of categories. Simply choose one of those and you’ll be able to see a list of articles along with some information about the source and date/time. After you choose any of these articles you’ll see a brief summary, which will be shown as a few bullet points. This is where you can also choose to read its entire body, in case you’re interested in doing so.
The main role of Gist is to pinpoint an article and summarize it. I was unable to find information about what kind of algorithm this application uses, but I was happy with those summaries I’ve had a chance of reading. You’ll be also able to summarize any other piece of text around the web simply by pasting an URL into Gist which will do its job. Another thing I need to mention is that even though Gist is very quick when it comes to text-only articles (no matter how long they are), things can get a little slow when it comes to articles which are full of pictures and quotes. It sometimes took up to 15 seconds to summarize a very complex article. On the other hand, developer of Gist promised future updates which are going to focus on the speed of this application, which is something to look forward to.
Gist is very interesting and nicely designed application, which actually works very well. There are some quirks and performance issues, but these are not that serious and are certainly solvable.