Futureful is a new app from a Finnish startup, and it is backed by Skype co-founder Janus Friis. The app works a lot like StumbleUpon, as a content discovery tool, but it is smarter and aims to merge machine learning with human understanding.
As a result, Futureful functions quite a bit differently than other content discovery apps that you might have used. It has an ultra simple interface, where it is impossible to type in a URL. This simple interface also makes it confusing to use at first, so make sure to spend a decent amount of time with it after you download it to learn just how it works.
Instead of having a URL bar, the app, which is essentially a browser for content, features two rows of tags at the top of the screen. That top row is a list of topics proposed by the app, based on either your Twitter or Facebook feed. (You do need to connect this app to either Twitter or Facebook for it to function.)
The second row of topics is a bit more confusing. It uses tags that you have picked from the top row, and how those tags interact is sometimes difficult to discern.
For example, I selected the top tag “journalism” which moved it to my bottom row of tags. The app pulled up a random journalism article, and if I swipe downwards on the screen, I can get another journalism article.
If I select another topic from the top row, like “conspiracy,” the app will pull up articles that are relevant to those two topics. Journalism and conspiracy combine to give me an article on Manti Te’o, while other topics, like apps and gaming brings up an article on freemium apps.
You can tap several topics from the top to get more refined news that is tailored to your interests. Depending on what topics you have selected, they might not all be included in a specific article, but the topics that stories do cover will be highlighted at the top of the screen in orange.
With several topics selected, each time you swipe downwards you will get a new article that is relevant to your interests, which makes Futureful a fun way to discover content that you might not otherwise have found. Futureful definitely manages to stand out from the crowd of content discovery apps, and it is well worth checking out if you’re looking for an innovative way to find news to read.
You can get Futureful for the iPad from the App Store for free.