Zite’s First Technology Integration with CNN

When Zite was acquired by CNN last year, the two goals were to grow Zite as an independent business and to help transform CNN through our technology.  On the first goal, we’ve been very busy: we’ve tripled the size of the company, moved into our own office, launched on several new platforms, released branded advertising, and launched our publisher program.

Today, Zite is excited to announce CNN Trends, our first major project with our parent company.  I thought I’d add a bit more color to the story by giving you some background on how this came about, how Zite is fueling CNN Trends, and what’s next in store for Zite.

CNN asked us to take a look at NewsPulse, a section on the CNN site that showed what stories were trending, to see if we could improve the ranking.  Zite wanted to do something more than just inject NewsPulse with a new algorithm.  We started to brainstorm how we could create a better experience for trending news topics.  One of the insights that we came to was that users care about what’s trending overall, not just on CNN.  And, though CNN covers most every major event, users also want to see perspectives from different sources.  Thus, the CNN Trends project was born.

CNN Trends shows you the ten most talked-about subjects for the day, anchored by a high-quality CNN article, but with links to other interesting analyses about the subject, so you can form your own opinion.  The entire page is generated algorithmically, that is, without human intervention.  How is that possible?

Though Zite is known for our personalization technology, we have a deep technology stack.  One of the most important is Zite’s ability to understand what topics and articles are interesting. In the Zite app, this is why Zite is able to offer interesting articles across thousands of categories.  We applied this technology to CNN Trends to generate a list of talked-about topics and form clusters of interesting stories.

Of course, the proof is in the pudding: go try it out for yourself!

So what’s next for Zite integration on CNN?  Over the next year, you’ll see our vision unfold.  We’ll continue to improve CNN Trends based on your feedback.  We’ll begin to introduce personalization into CNN products.  And, most importantly, expect that we’ll be constantly innovating and introducing new products that evolve the news industry.  In fact, we’ve currently got 5 open positions in the Zite office, 3 specifically devoted to working on Zite on CNN projects.

And next for Zite?  Don’t worry: still 80% of our office is focused on our core product and we’ve got some great things cooking.  Stay tuned and follow us @zite for updates.

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