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Summly iPhone app to change mobile news experience

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A teenage entrepreneur has launched a new app that summarises news articles into 400-character paragraphs to fit on an iPhone screen.

Nick D'Aloisio said that he wants to "dramatically improve the mobile news reading experience" with his free Summly app.

'Summly' screenshot

© Summly Limited

'Summly' screenshot

© Summly Limited



Despite being just 17, D'Aloisio has secured a $1m investment and gained the backing of celebrities like Stephen Fry and Yoko Ono for the initiative.

Using an Artificial intelligence algorithm, Summly pulls in news articles from hundreds of sources on the internet, and then extracts the key points and provides the user with a 400-character summary.

These "bite-size" stories can then be easily and quickly swiped through by iPhone users.

News is spread across a series of categories, and users can filter the material based on the topics, keywords and sources they prefer. They can also share stories directly on social networks.

'Summly' screenshot

© Summly Limited



D'Aloisio started writing apps in 2008 when he was 12, and raised the first round of $250,000 venture capital funding from Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka Shing's Horizons Ventures three years later.

Summly started life as an app called Trimit, coded by D'Aloisio, but after further investment from Horizon Ventures, was later relaunched as Summly in beta version in December 2011.

The free app has now gone into full launch on the iPhone and is expected to attract big interest from users.

"I designed Summly because I felt that my generation wasn't consuming traditional news anymore," said D'Aloisio, who is studying at King's College School.

"In designing for the mobile generation, I believe we've created an app that will benefit anyone who loves reading news on the go.

"We've been able to build an industry-leading app that performs even better than human summaries in our tests. We think this is just the tip of the iceberg of what can be done with summarisation technology."

'Summly' screenshot

© Summly Limited

'Summly' screenshot

© Summly Limited



Summly is said to be "working closely" with Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation on the summarisation of its content. It already summarises stories from the firm's Wall Street Journal newspaper.

Along with Fry and Ono, Summly has also found celebrity backers in Ashton Kutcher, Lady GaGa's business manager Troy Carter, and WordPress entrepreneur Matt Mullenweg.

Arianna Huffington, creator of the Huffington Post websites, said the Summly app was "amazing" and described its creator as "brilliant".

Spotify founder Daniel Ek said: "Summly is an amazing piece of technology which easily summarises the world news into a bite-sized format. Perfect for people like myself who are constantly in a rush, but want to be in the know."

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