Something, a tiny new app for iOS, taps into your Twitter friends to show you good reading you might like and learns from your preferences over time.
The app is almost a stripped-down version of Nuzzel’s news app; Something shows you the best articles from your Twitter feed ranked by factors like age, numbers of favorites and more. However, instead of showing things in a list view, it loads the entire article full-screen.
If you want to read the article you’ve got to do it before you swipe to the next one, or it’ll be gone forever.
To move to the next article, you swipe left or right, just like on Tinder. If you swipe left, you’re training Something that you liked that article and if you swipe right, it’ll learn that you didn’t like that one.
There isn’t much more to the interface than that. No lists of articles, settings or other options. Just the ability to read and tell the app what you like. The lack of overbearing interface is somewhat freeing.
Articles are loaded for offline reading in the background, so you’re never left without something to read even if there’s no Internet connection.
When I tested the app, I found the ephemeral factor — not being able to retrieve the article later — trained me to read the good things right away, for fear of swiping them away and never remembering to read them again.
I’d much prefer if it had a way to drop interesting ones into Pocket or Instapaper in case I can’t read right away, but the choice to leave that functionality out seems deliberate, with the creator, Ed Lea, writing on Product Hunt that the team built the app because “we found we were spending more time adding articles to apps like Instapaper and Pocket than actually reading them.”
Instead, Something tries to make you focus on the thing you’re in front of right now which is pretty good for if you’re just trying to kill time on the train.