Tag Archives: Pulse News

Faceoff: Zite vs Flipboard vs Pulse vs Google Currents

With iPhone versions of Flipboard, Zite & introduction of Google Currents, there are now a lot of options for Social Readers/Media Aggregators. Here is a rundown of the top four

Google Currents [iTunes Link]

  • Google Sign on
  • Top half is dedicated to pictures
  • Can add RSS feeds of interesting sites or feeds from your Google Reader
  • The GUI is more android-ish than iOS [Too many buttons?]
  • Sharing to Facebook, Twitter [you must enter your twitter credentials in the iOS settings], tumblr, Google plus [Google plus is given unnecessary prominence]
  • Does not make use of any multitouch gestures[Multiple fingers, pinching]: Must tap to go back. Unintuitive, especially on the iPad
  • Functions more like a RSS reader than a magazine: You can add only sites, not entire sections.
  • Very slow to load articles
  • So far it is US only

Pulse News [iTunes Link]

  • Offers lots of customization, but can come off as complicated
  • Add feeds from google reader, your Facebook, Twitter [feeds as well as links]etc.
  • Intuitive
  • Standard sharing options: Facebook, Twitter etc
  • Fonts used are tiny, the pictures get cut off.
  • The presentation is cluttered, reminds more of a news website. Not very aesthetically pleasing

Flipboard [iTunes Link]

  • Clean grid presentation, easy navigation
  • Option to add entire sections or single feeds
  • Large collection of articles, esp. liked reddit section
  • Add feeds from google reader, your Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, Flickr & almost any other social platform.
  • Can save to Readitlater or Instapaper
  • Multitouch enabled
  • You can setup an account [only an email & password required] so that you can access Your Flipboard on multiple devices [iPad & iPhone]
  • Time to setup your choice of articles takes patience.
  • Adding single feeds to Your Flipboard is a pain. You must navigate to each section, wait for it to load & then add.
  • Load times for articles is high. Even on broadband an article takes half a minute to load, more for graphic heavy sites
  • If the article is divided into sections & requires you to click to naviagte to the next page [for example, The Verge] more waiting
  • No option to get only text view [via Instapaper Mobilizer, for example] further irritates.
  • All this waiting detracts from the fluid reading experience you expect from a Social reader

Zite [iTunes Link]

  • Magazine like presentation
  • Has good ratio of picture & article preview without squeezing down the font size [Flipboard gives pictures more real estate than the text]
  • Multitouch enabled
  • You can setup an account [only an email & password required] so that you can access Zite collection on multiple devices
  • Adding sections is very easy: You are given categories to choose from & it does so with a single click
  • Option to pull articles from your Twitter feed, Google Reader, Delicious & Readitlater
  • Multitouch enabled
  • Standard sharing options
  • You can save articles to Readitlater/Instapaper
  • The app has a learning feature, you tell it what kind of articles you like, over a period of time it will learn & provide you a better selection. It is very nice & catches on quickly.
  • Articles load quickly & you have the option to get the entire webpage or a simple text view, like Safari’s Reader. If the article is split into multiple pages, it loads them too
  • Choice isn’t as large as Flipboard. For example, I could not find 500px or reddit feeds.
  • Not much in the way of eye candy

I personally find Zite to be the best of them all just because of the speed. It has almost all the features of Flipboard & gets me to my articles quickly. In first time use you can just open up the app & it loads articles to read, unlike Flipboard where you have to add before you can do any reading. Google Currents is at the bottom of the pile just because of its un-intuitive navigation.

My opinion: Zite> Flipboard> Pulse> Google Currents

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