Prismatic: Discovering Great News Stories With the Help of Robots

The maelstrom of information from the web can be overwhelming, and if you’re not careful, you’ll drown in its sea of unlimited information, floating around looking for answers you didn’t know you wanted. Sometimes, the web surfing is worth the risk, but as we’ve developed more ways to surf smarter we’re finding  the same information through very different sources.

That’s the conundrum, and with the destruction of Google Reader, newsmongers like myself have also been surfing for new ways to find interesting stories. Enter the maker of Prismatic, a news surfing app that’s enlisting artificial intelligence to find the right stories for you – not just what you think you want from the sources you like, but also a smattering of relevant stories based on your reading history.  It’s like Pandora, but for news.

Prismatic is worth trying, but don’t just peek in. You need to wade in – try it out and over time the app will develop a palette of information tailored to your own needs. To get started, sign in using one of your social networks. Then, select up to 10 areas of interest – this is the golden number that we were given that somehow maximizes the algorithm and our attention span. Prismatic will then filter through 5 million news stories each day to bring you what it things you want – keep exploring and it will get better.

After a year of roaming the web, Prismatic is finally updating its app for iOS. It’s coming soon, but you can sign up here to get in on the early access list. The latest update to the app incorporates a wonderful horizontal scroller and plenty of visually enticing images from each story. There are also some social features, but personally, I’m not looking to use Prismatic to gain a huge social following; I think the best stories from friends come from all kinds of sources – email, chats, Twitter, Facebook, and even face to face conversations. Prismatic is here to shape my corner of the web and it doesn’t have to act social just for the sake of being social.