In early 2011 I was sitting at home, trying to study for my upcoming exams. I was using the Internet to find more information about a particular subject, and was finding that I kept clicking through to websites that in the end didn’t have the information I needed. I wondered why there wasn’t a better way for people to preview information before they did a deep dive.
This frustration got me interested in summarization technology. I read up on natural language processing (NLP) and machine translation—the two key areas contributing to summarization efforts—and tried my hand at an early prototype. The demo let people enter a web site’s URL and receive a summary of the content.
I was particularly interested in mobile news—it’s a really poor experience, full of lots of waiting and frustration. Plus, at the risk of saying something obvious: the news is really important! And I don’t feel like my generation is engaging with it as it should, in part because most of our life is digital and existing technologies don’t necessarily do the best job of engaging us with news content. So I was hoping to build something that could help.
Today I’m proud to announce the launch of the new Summly. The best way to consume news on any mobile device in the world. Summly provides ‘pocket sized news’ which consists of automatically generated summaries from news articles across the web. We have built a technology with the world’s leading NLP experts that can produce summaries for any screen size algorithmically. We have also introduced a new standard of mobile user interface and experience design, with a unique gesture navigation and minimalistic approach.
With Summly, you can:
- Quickly browse summaries of articles from hundreds of news sources
- Customise news to the topics, keywords, and news sources that most interest you
- Share summaries with friends through social channels, SMS, and email
- Easily navigate news stories using innovative design and gestures
The last 12 months have been an exciting journey and I have been very overwhelmed by the support I have received. Our angel investors, advisors and team have allowed me to take Summly from the technical demonstration I released last December to the fully fledged product it is today. Working with SRI International and other NLP experts, we have built an unparalleled service that will make consuming content on mobile simple, fun and intuitive for the first time.
This product has been inspired by my generation and their style of content consumption; fast and to the point. It will be useful for anyone who suffers from information overload and wants to consume news and other content in a seamless manner on mobile devices. We will be expanding very soon to other platforms and devices, as well as other languages.
I hope you find Summly informative and fun to use!