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Comparing The New Aggregators: Flipboard, Pulse, Zite, Float And More | September 2011

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From Flipboard and Aol Editions, to Ongo and, the rise of tablets and apps is changing how we gather and consume content. A couple of apps have grabbed the headlines in recent months. Flipboard has closed over $60 million in funding and has a $200 million valuation. More recently, Zite was snapped up by CNN. Even Google is jumping on this bandwagon, based on reports of Google Propeller designed so Android and iOS users can curate content.

For consumers, there are now so many of these next-generation RSS readers that it can be daunting to keep them straight. But they have distinct differences. Some curate content with an algorithm, while others use a team of editors. Some have made partnerships with publishers, while some are charging ahead without them. And there are other differences too, in areas like customization, sharing and price. To see how some of the new aggregators stack up, check out our chart below.



How Content Is Aggregated

Official Content Partners

Social Networks Used As Content Sources

Customization Options

Sharing Options


How It’s Different



Content comes from the user’s social network and Flipboard’s content partners. Flipboard curates featured content in its Content Guide. Users can search for a specific feed, group, list, hashtag or account.

ABC News, All Things Digital, Bon Appetit, Lonely Planet, SB Nation, The Economist, Oprah, Forbes, National Geographic and over 30 others.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Instagram.

Users can browse and view social feeds, and add favorited items into separate panes or “tiles” and the Content Guide.

E-mail; Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn; Can save for offline reading via Instapaper, Read It Later.

iPad; iPhone coming soon.

Content is not based on your past consumption, but rather, what’s popular in your social network and around the web.

Raised two rounds of funding for a total of $60.5 million. It raised $50 million at a $200 million valuation in April 2011.


Content is pulled from your social network, then prioritized based on your interests. Zite analyzes users’ past behavior on their social networks and/or Google Reader feeds to pull initial content.


Facebook, Twitter; Google Reader.

Users can vote “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”. Zite uses this information to filter content in order to send the user only info that interests them.

E-mail; Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn; can save for offline reading via Instapaper, Read It Later, Delicious, Evernote.


Content is prioritized based on your own past behavior. Also, the app now supports multiple profiles, a plus for households with shared iPads.

Bought by CNN in August.


Content is pulled from tens of thousands of publications. Each section identifies the top 20 most influential and well-known sources. It is prioritized based on your interests.



Users can add their own content sources; can customize the colors of their Edition; can select and re-order from 18 different sections.

E-mail; Facebook, Twitter; can save for offline reading.


Because Editions links directly to the source, it doesn’t need content partners. Also, because Aol is a publisher, it can fully show content from its entities within the app.


$5.99 / month to access content from official content partners. Beyond those partners, it is 99 cents per title.

Full content from partners with large images and columns in an ad-free layout. Articles are also curated by Ongo’s editorial team and complemented by the company’s algorithm to highlight important stories.

Dozens of content partners, including: AP, NYT, FT, USA Today, LA Times, Washington Post, Reuters, ProPublica.


Users can create personal news playlists with “My Topics”; can add any RSS feed.

E-mail; Facebook; Twitter; can save for offline reading.

iPad; Web; Mobile Web.

You can add any RSS feed you want. Ongo shows full articles within the app, rather than linking to the sources. Like Float, the app syncs across its platforms. And, like Trove, a team of editors curates top news/stories.

Raised $12 million total.


Full content from partners are shown. Social feeds are filtered for reading activity so users can see what their friends are reading across the web, and sources are curated by interest. Users can add web content via Float bookmarklet.

250 content partners (and counting) is shown, including: AP, The Atlantic, Bloomberg, CBS, CNET, Entertainment Weekly, Fortune Tech, Huffington Post, Mashable, Slate, SB Nation, Time, Wired and more.

Scribd; Facebook; Twitter.

Users can favorite publications; customize reading lists; select personal reading styles. Can read up and down; left and right; now or later.

E-mail; Scribd; Facebook; Twitter; can save for offline reading with bookmarklet and in the app.

iPhone; Web; iPad and Android coming soon.

Float offers ability to read formatted content like books, reports and other PDFs. And, like Ongo, the app syncs across its platforms.

Parent company Scribd has raised about $25.8 million in total funding raised in the past four years. It raised a $13 million third round in January 2011 for mobile expansion.


Users add their content sources; Pulse also offers suggested sources.

More than 200 content partners, including ESPN, The New Yorker, USA Today, NBC News, Al Jazeera, among others. Pulse also suggests sources.

Facebook; Twitter; Google Reader.

Users add their own sources; can rename sources and pages.

Facebook; Twitter; can save for offline reading via, Instapaper, Evernote, Read it Later.

iPhone/iPad; Android; Web; Barnes & Noble Nook Color.

You add content by source — not by topic.

Raised its first round of $9 million in June 2011.

Free. (Until recently, it was a subscription service.)

Content is shown from what is popular in the network, what’s popular in your Twitter network, as well as content based on what you have read or shared in the past.

Dozens including New York Times, The Boston Globe, Associated Press, Forbes, AOL News, Gawker, GigaOm, Mashable, RedWriteWeb and SB Nation.


Users can view content in either Web (full view) or Streamlined (only text and selected images) view.

E-mail; Facebook, Twitter; can save for offline reading within the app or via Instapaper.

iPad; daily e-mail digest

You can see what other users are reading.

Funded by Betaworks and the New York Times


Content is taken from Washington Posts’s sister sites; content partners. It is prioritized based on your consumption.

About 10,000 sources, including WaPo’s sister sites and other content partners.


Aside from adding topics of interest, users can search keywords to get more suggested topics.

Email; Facebook; Twitter.

iPhone/iPad; Windows Phone; Windows 7 Tablet; BlackBerry.

Trove users can connect with others who have shared interests. Also, like Ongo, a team of editors curates top news/stories.



The most popular content is aggregated from around the web from over 1 million sources.

Most major media companies. Publishers can also submit their content to SkyGrid.

Facebook; Twitter; YouTube.

Users can follow various sources and topics/keywords. Sources can also be full Custom Streams, or backplanes.

E-mail; Facebook, Twitter; can save for offline reading via Instapaper.

iPhone/iPad; Android.

SkyGrid shows the most popular content around the web – not necessarily what the people in your social network are reading. It also allows the ability to follow multiple sources on one topic.

Raised two rounds of funding, $13.3 million total.

Source: Based on company information, additional reporting.
Produced by: Amanda Natividad
Edited by: Staci D. Kramer, Ernie Sander
Published: September 21, 2011 // Updated: October 21, 2011