There’s too much to do, and definitely not enough time to do it in, and we put the blame squarely on the recent government decision to speed up time. It was a lousy idea, and we should have fought harder to stop it. But now it’s here, we better make the most of it, which is where this handy, but worrying free app comes in.
PlexiDigest is a multi-platform app which condenses news reports into very short paragraphs, and displays them in an easy to browse format so you can churn through them faster. It’s not the first time this sort of thing has been done, but it’s probably one of the most complete implementations we’ve seen so far. The only problem is, while it’s fine for simple stories, it’s just not that great for complex reports, which is not the apps fault, it’s the fault of editors who insist of feeding us stuff that is designed to make us think. What’s the matter with fluffy kittens, for Pete’s sake?
That said, we have to acknowledge that the interface is deliciously easy to use. You get an upfront selection of the main categories of news along with the number of stories available, and all you have to do is press one icon and you’re plunged into a world of single para summaries.
And for general basic news it works. The tech pulls out the main facts (aided A LOT by the headlines we suspect), and presents them in good English, and with a lot of meaning. The reason we mentioned the problems with more complex fare is because it’s obvious that a summary is not going to be able to deliver the nuance of a well written article, even with the benefit of a solid headline. This became clear when we clicked through to the main story of a restaurant soliciting 1 Star Yelp reviews as a protest, which was featured on a well written – as ever – Ars Technica page. The summary gave absolutely no indication of how interesting the story was, but there again, we did click through.
But maybe that’s the point. It’s the headline that does most of the work, and for that you don’t need a summarizer, you just need a good RSS reader. Anyway, this is definitely an interesting take on the whole ‘time saver’ genre, so we’ll give it a cautious thumbs up and move along to our next story. TL;DR – nice app, for simple people.