Skip to main content

Young app creator launches news aggregator Summly

Nick D’Aloisio is the 17 year old Wimbledon-raised creator of the recently launched free iPhone app, Summly. The application utilises an algorithm that summarises full news stories into bite-sized sentences that can fit within a mobile device's screen.

The current teen-of-the-moment has cited an “incompatible” relationship between news and mobile displays as the instigating factor behind the creation of the app. The computer-generated algorithm incorporates natural language processes that can produce 300-400 character summaries for iPhone 4 and 4S’ screens. The character count increases to 500 characters on an iPhone 5 handset, thus removing the need to navigate multiple screens as all that is required is a quick tap and read.

The application divides its content into different channels/categories (e.g. sports, election 2012) and affords its user the ability to create custom channels that gather news on a specific subject (e.g. Hurricane Sandy).

The content is sourced from an estimated 300 English-speaking news feeds which are provided by the company’s publishing partners, such as media giant News Corp. D’Aloisio indicated that News Corp founder Rupert Murdoch has taken a personal interest in Summly.

“I'm sure he's got a million things on but he was very enthusiastic with Summly and he is still very much engaged with helping us out. The whole of the News Corp team has been helpful in getting this product to market,” said D’Aloisio in an interview with the Independent.

The magnate's interest stems from the opportunities in monetisation that the new format can offer, such as micropayments for full articles. A future application that had previously caught the eye of another world renowned businessman, Li Ka-shing, who became aware of a then 15 year old developer via the early successes of Summly prototype, Trimmit. This resulted in D'Aloisio becoming the youngest person in the world to raise venture capital for his Shoreditch-based company, that enjoys funds to the tune of $1 million (£621,620).

Presently the Summly app is only available for Apple devices with an Android version set for the near future.