Semantic Startup Evri Goes Mobile

Evri, a semantic content discovery engine for real-time content, has decided to switch gears and change its focus. “Going forward, we consider ourselves a mobile company,” said Evri CEO Will Hunsinger. To that end, the company is now launching a handful of new mobile applications that use Evri’s core technology to enable the discovery of relevant news and media on the topics you care about.

Currently, the mobile lineup includes apps for tech, football, baseball, celebrity gossip and rock music, but dozens more are in the works. There’s even an iPad app coming, which Evri describes as a “smarter Flipboard.”

To be clear, Hunsinger says Evri isn’t walking away from the Web – “We love the Web,” he says. But for Evri, as for many companies today, the future is in mobile. “Mobile devices are ideally suited for what we’re trying to do,” he explained. Mobile users are consuming content and Evri is a company whose goal is to improve content consumption. Going mobile just makes sense.

How Evri Uses Semantic Tech to Deliver the News

Evri’s new apps aim to bring you the content you’re most interested in and passionate about, with the signal filtered from the noise and the content distilled down to what really matters.

The semantic technology Evri is known for enables this, as it helps to understand what content is popular, but also what it means. For example, its football application wouldn’t confuse Will Smith, the actor, with Will Smith, the football player for the New Orleans Saints. And after discovering the content, Evri can then rank it based on recency, relevancy and popularity.

It also doesn’t require a large group of curators to make this happen. Instead, the ratio is more like one curator per hundreds, maybe thousands, of pieces of content. The curator’s job consists only of pointing the technology in the right direction. This is curation at scale.

Mobile Apps Available Now: iPhone, Android (iPad Coming Soon)

Each mobile app features multiple views of the content it provides: a news view, a video view, a Twitter view and an “EvriThing” view, which is all the views combined.

The Twitter view could be an intriguing alternative to using Twitter lists. Although lists are currently one of Twitter’s best features for curating and filtering content, Evri’s “Twitter” view on a topic functions like a dynamic Twitter list of what’s interesting, current and relevant.

The upcoming iPad app will do much of the same, except on a larger form factor. It will also let you add content from sources that matter to you – like your own Twitter and Facebook accounts. “Flipboard doesn’t get popularity,” said Hunsinger. It doesn’t know what content should be featured bigger or smaller within the app based on popularity and other factors.

But that’s only a temporary glitch – Flipboard acquired semantic data-analysis company Ellerdale and is in the process of integrating that tech into its backend to better determine the relevance of the information it displays.

Design Needs Work

Flipboard has great design, too. And Hunsinger says his company has learned from that design and will likely implement similar interactions. Flipboard didn’t invent the magazine, after all. It just got it right on the iPad.

But when it comes to design, this is an area where Evri has some serious ramping up to do, especially if it wants to take on Flipboard. The mobile apps are somewhat garish in their color choices and include hard-to-read fonts. GigaOm’s Liz Gannes even said “the Evri app design currently hurts my eyes.” It’s hard to disagree, and that doesn’t bode well for the company’s iPad plans.

But like Gannes, who said the idea has “promise,” we see the potential here. Semantic technology plus content discovery plus mobile is a recipe for success, is it not?

The Evri apps are being announced today at GigaOm’s Mobilize conference in San Francisco. They will be available on both iPhone and Android. The apps are monetized through affiliate advertising partnerships with Amazon, Apple and others so they’re available for free.

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