March 19, 2012

Search Simplified

A new iPhone app simplifies your student’s search life

Wondering what your child is doing online? Perhaps designing the next big thing.

Take, for example, the story of Summly, an iPhone app developed by British teenager Nick D’Aloisio. Nick developed the app in his spare time. It wasn’t his first effort, either. Prior to Summly, he created SongStumblr, a music discovery service, and Facemood, a service that relied on an algorithm to explore Facebook profiles and report a user’s mood.

It was while doing his homework that D’Aloisio had the idea for a service that would make Internet searches more efficient, more effective, and less of a drain on a student’s time and energies. In order to better navigate web search results and their endless stream of links, users can rely on Summly to provide concise summaries of web page content so that every link doesn’t have to be followed or read before deciding whether it has value to the user. In essence, the app summarizes the result of your web search so you don’t have to. (Why is that important? Part of the answer is here.)

Summly doesn’t just automatically generate a summary of your search results, the app will summarize specific web pages or articles imported into the free service. Custom searches can also be saved for ongoing access.

At the moment, Summly is limited to the iPhone, but a recent investment of $250,000 by Li Ka-Shing and Horizons Ventures means it won’t be long before the search tool is available on more devices and, more likely, embedded in the suite of services you’re already using—including Facebook and other social media platforms.

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