Yahoo brings Summly to iPhone app

The media company's new app for iPhone and iPod Touch features story summaries by Summly, which it acquired from teenager Nick D'Aloisio just a month ago.

Jon Skillings Editorial director
Jon Skillings is an editorial director at CNET, where he's worked since 2000. A born browser of dictionaries, he honed his language skills as a US Army linguist (Polish and German) before diving into editing for tech publications -- including at PC Week and the IDG News Service -- back when the web was just getting under way, and even a little before. For CNET, he's written on topics from GPS, AI and 5G to James Bond, aircraft, astronauts, brass instruments and music streaming services.
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Jon Skillings
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Story summaries on the new Yahoo iPhone app
Story summaries on the new Yahoo iPhone app. Yahoo

Yahoo has wasted no time turning its Summly acquisition into a lure for mobile users.

The Internet company Monday introduced a new app for iPhones and iPod Touch devices that features quick story summaries delivered by Summly's natural-language algorithms and machine learning. It's available to users in the United States.

Yahoo iPhone app with photos
Images on Yahoo's new iPhone app. Yahoo

Yahoo made a splash when it acquired Summly -- reportedly for a hefty $30 million -- from teenager Nick D'Aloisio just a month ago.

D'Aloisio developed the technology behind Summly when he was just 15 and, for his schoolwork, needed a way to quickly sort scads of information on Web pages. His company attracted high-profile backers ranging from actor Ashton Kutcher to Zynga CEO Mark Pincus to Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing.

Mobile is an opportunity that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer clearly intends to seize as the company, once virtually synonymous with the Web for many people, seeks to return to its former glory after years of turmoil in the leadership ranks and struggles to keep pace with changes in consumers' Internet habits, from social networking to the proliferation of mobile apps.

In presenting Yahoo's first-quarter earnings results last week, Meyer said that of its more than 700 million monthly users,300 million now access its services on mobile devices.

She also talked of moving the company forward in a series of "sprints," the latest one meant to get Yahoo on track "building beautiful products" -- and that's just how the iPhone app was introduced today, as a quick turnaround for the Summly acquisition and as a package that was "beautifully designed with smaller screens in mind."

Yahoo's new iPhone app lets users home in on the stories they're interested in, and those choices are shared on various views of Yahoo.

"Just select the types of stories you're interested in. Within each article, you can easily select more of the topics you'd like to see, and less of those you don't," Yahoo said in a press release Monday. "When you're signed into Yahoo, the choices you make are saved across screens. The more you use Yahoo!, the more relevant and interesting the experience becomes -- on mobile and desktop."

The app also delivers better video and image search, according to Yahoo.

Personalization on Yahoo's iPhone app.
Personalization on Yahoo's iPhone app. Yahoo