Prismatic: Read About What You’re Interested In

As a writer for the App Storm network as well as a tech fanatic, I am constantly keeping up on all the tech news around the world. For the longest time, Google Reader was one of the easiest and best ways to consume news on the net. But as time has gone on, there have been other apps out there that have gained traction on it and have also incorporated Google Reader into their own app. One of the that comes to mind is Flipboard, who has added their own twist to consuming news while incorporating Google Reader feeds into their app as well, instead of trying to fight Google’s dominance directly.

Then, another major trend is that Facebook and Twitter have become popular ways to consume tech news. There are some developers out there that have recognized this and have come out with some great apps. One of them, called Prismatic, has done this well, enough that I took it for a test drive for a few days and came away impressed. Can it replace your Google Reader feed? Well, I guess you are just going to have to read on and find out.

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Setting Up Prismatic

When you first get to the app, you are given a variety of ways to set up your account. You can log in through your Twitter or Facebook account, Google, or just set up an account. Once you sign in you are going to want to sign into your other accounts that you have so that you can take advantage of Prismatic to its fullest capacity. The first thing you are going to need to do is click on some topics that interest you based off of your social networks or Google Reader feed.

Adding topics to your Prismatic feed

Adding topics to your Prismatic feed

What is neat about this is that Prismatic scans through your Facebook posts as well your Twitter feed to find topics that interest you. Then when you connect your Google Reader feed, you can then select the feeds that you usually read there and add them to Prismatic as well. Once you do this, the app gathers all of this information and then lays it out for you in a nice and easy way to consume your news.

Reading Your Feed

This to me, is where the app really shows its true colors and can be very impressive. At the same time, I can see how it can be overwhelming for some, which I will get to later. There are basically two main feeds that you are shown, one is your Home page, where all of the topics you subscribed to reside, and the other is the Top News, where you can see important articles regardless of whether you selected that topic or not.

Top News Feed

Top News Feed

There are a couple of ways that you can choose to go through your feeds. You can take the easy route and just scroll from top to bottom and read the articles that way, but you can also choose to just read articles from a particular topic in your feed. For example, lets say you want to read all of the articles about the iPhone, you can click on that in your Home list and then see all of the articles in that particular topic. Each article has its own set of keywords, which can also be clicked on to see more articles about that particular word.

Looking at articles from a specific topic

Looking at articles from a specific topic

Interactive

Prismatic is so much more than just a way to read your daily news on your favorite topics. They have integrated a variety of social networking features where you can get very interactive. If you want to share an article, you can share it with your social networks or email it to a specific person. You can also see tweets about a specific article and if you want to retweet or tweet that person back you have this option as well, which if you choose to do, you will be taken to the Twitter website. I wish this wasn’t the case, but I am not sure if there is much that Prismatic could do about that. It would be nice to be able to retweet or tweet someone from within the app.

Sharing Features

Sharing Features

What is also kind of cool is the fact that if you find that a certain topic is interesting and worth sharing then you have the option to share it with friends where they can then view all of the articles in that specific topic. There is also a read later feature where if there is an article that you want to save to read later all you have to do is click on the icon and it will save the story. You can then go back and look at all of your stories that you saved to read.

Sharing a specific topic with your friends

Sharing a specific topic with your friends

Definitely Not For Amateurs

As I played around with Prismatic, although I was very excited for a new way to consume my tech news, one thing was very apparent to me, this was definitely not as easy as Google Reader. One thing that I have come to appreciate about Google Reader is the simplicity in which it displays your feeds and gives you the ability to stay on top of your news. Prismatic takes that simplicity and throws it out the window in some ways. If you are anything like me, you like to see your news in chronological order, whether it be from most recent to older or vice versa. With Prismatic, you don’t have this option and to be perfectly honest, I am not sure how they figure out what articles should be first and so on.

Another thing that could be hard for those who are not used to something other than Google Reader is that there is a lot to take in as you are reading your feed. While it is easy to scroll through your feed, I wish there was a way to give you a more simplistic option to read. One other thing that bothered me was that there was no count for how many articles there are in each topic. This isn’t something that is rare as a lot of other reader apps don’t do this as well, but it is just nice to know where I am at in my feed and how many articles I haven’t read.

Final Thoughts

All that to say, I still think that Prismatic is a great new way to consume the news around you. I definitely like the fact that you can take in news not only from your Google Reader, but other topics that you may be interested in. I did appreciate the fact that it was very easy to setup and I was up and reading articles in no time. Will it replace my Google Reader? Probably not, but it is not for the fact that it isn’t a good app, it is more so my personal preference and how I like to read the news.

Prismatic is definitely a great new app and I highly recommend that you check it out if you are looking for a different way to read the news. At this point, they have an iPhone app, and you have to think that something like this would have an iPad app in its future, but we will wait and see. Both the web and the iPhone app are free to use and as of right now there are no costs to using any of the features. If you are constantly keeping up on the news around you and want to get a wide variety of articles, then Prismatic may be the way to go to stay up to date. Go and check it out and let us know what you think.


Summary

Stay in touch with the news that interest you with Prismatic

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