NPR (npr) One rethinks everything, even ditching the Like button.
Stark white and minimally designed, the new NPR One app looks like a paradigm of technology. But surprisingly, the app isn’t powered by algorithms, filters, or other pseudo-intelligence—it’s still good old human editor curation on the backend.
“For us, the algorithm that programs the app is very importantly focused on the human curation part of it,” says NPR VP of digital media Zach Brand. “A lot of people tend to think of it in terms of machine learning—which is a portion as well—but we have dedicated staff making sure that the most important stories are populated from the outset that represent the best experience right at the first moment. As we get to know the listener, it then tailors even more to them.”
We threw down the first “Habits Challenge” gauntlet today—check it out here—on wrangling your inbox using auto-replies. If you’re ready to crush the competition (the competition is yourself), this habit-tracking edition of Free App Friday is for you.
As always, while they’re free now, we can’t guarantee how long they’ll last—so don’t wait too long.
And it’s open source only! Here’s the story behind Bountysource.
The basic idea behind Bountysource seems easy enough to explain—it’s a crowdfunding site for open source software. But when the site first launched about a decade ago, those were still fairly esoteric concepts for potential users and investors. Even the founders, then fresh out of college, had never heard the term “crowdfounding,” says cofounder and COO David Rappo. The project died fast.
"Nowadays, we can say it’s a crowdfunding platform for open source software, and people are like, we get it," Rappo says. "The time is right: people not only understand crowdfunding, but they love it."
It’s not enough that Twitter modeled its new layout after Facebook. The company has also taken a major advertising cue from the world’s most popular social network, announcing Monday it will roll out app-install ads, an ad unit that lets users download third-party apps directly from Twitter’s mobile app.
Put another way: Is the new app everyone’s talking about awful or awesome?
As you may have heard, there was a big rhumpus this week over the release of a new app. No, we aren’t talking about Facebook’s Snapchat-like Slingshot. We are talking instead about the amazingly simple—if perhaps not amazing— messaging app, Yo.
That app, created by Or Abel and already funded to the tune of some $1 million, essentially does one thing only: It allows users to send the word “Yo” to their friends. The service proved popular in its first week—even topping Slingshot in the App Store yesterday, while racking up 100,000 downloads. Abel sees his creation signaling the demise of lengthy push notifications and told us that it “really helps cut through the noise.” That may be true but we couldn’t help but wonder: Is he a mad genius of marketing who has built something that might change the way we communicate, or simply, well, mad? We turned to three experts in the field to help us figure it all out.