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SkyGrid for iPad curates the fire hose

22 May 2010 2,790 views No Comment



Apple Online StoreSkyGrid for iPad is a curated newsreader app that pulls together hundreds, perhaps thousands, of sites covering the breath of the blogsphere, including Twitter, and media. It’s easy to get an instant snapshot of what’s happening in nearly two dozen category presets, from Sport to Science & Technology and Space to Celebrity (what is Lindsey doing?).

You can search for any keyword and SkyGrid will hose you down with a continuously updated and focussed stream of just the news you want. Additionally, there’s tab of featured streams covering 10 or so trending topics of the day, like Bono’s emergency back surgery and the latest on the iPad.

Further, you can favorite (i.e. tag for later viewing) or share stories via Twitter, Facebook and email. It would be nice if there was the option to share stories via Evernote and/or WordPress, but that’s probably a feature too far.

SkyGrid remembers what stories you’ve shared, which is handy for serial sharers with a short attention span.

What it be

Essentially, SkyGrid is a curated RSS feed that displays links in a sandboxed browser. Double-tapping a pic opens it and nearly all of the videos I’ve come across playback without issue.

Landscape mode presents you with a familiar iPad Mail-like, two-pane interface. Likewise, portrait mode displays featured/category/search listings in a drop-down menu a la Mail with the story occupying the entire screen behind and that’s pretty handy for reading — double tap or pinch to zoom.

Although you can copy text, you can’t save pictures and there’s no way to access a story’s URL without sharing it first via email (inline) or Twitter (bitly link), which adds an unnecessary step or three.

Conclusion

I’ve been using SkyGrid for over a week and it’s become part of my news hunting toolkit, earning a place on my iPad’s homescreen. Since its release in April, it’s been updated multiple times, which is reassuring.

Additionally, SkyGrid’s primary business is selling a Bloomberg-like, industrial-grade newsfeed for publishers ($500/month), so it seems fair to assume they’re professional and in it for the long haul.

Yes, there’s room for improvement, but SkyGrid is currently the best curated newsreader I’ve come across and the price (free) can’t be beat…

What’s your take?

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