When StumbleUpon first hit the Web 2.0 scene, it was one of the first sites of its kind to really make it easy to discover new content online. Since then, lots of websites and apps have rushed into what has become an incredibly crowded scene of content discovery, but NextStories, which we first introduced you to in our directory, brings a simple elegance to the process that really makes it stand out.
In short, NextStories makes it easy to discover content you’re interested in reading based on any one site of your choice. If you find yourself too easily distracted by the wealth of content online, NextStories brings it to you all in one organized page, and makes it easy to surf from one page to the next, all with the use of nothing more than a tiny bookmarklet. As you go from one website to the next, there’s a never-ending list of articles to read all revolving around a specific topic or theme.
To use NextStories you don’t have to sign up for an account. Simply visit the site, drag the bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar and you’re ready to go. Next, go to a site that you like to read. We tested it out with MakeUseOf, of course, and clicked the bookmarklet while on the website’s homepage. We were instantly presented with a grid of articles from sites like Lifehacker, 9to5 Mac, and The Verge, among many others. The topics were on point and looked like they would definitely interest a MakeUseOf reader (or writer for that matter).
Testing it out with a few other sites – we tried CNN – and were presented with the Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Washington Post and more. Testing it with BrainPickings resulted in FlavorWire, Laughing Squid and… Gawker. So maybe not every single site is a perfect match, but for the most part, we found the suggestions to be on the mark.
Clicking on any given link will take you straight to that website. It can be a little disconcerting at first that hitting the back button doesn’t go back to the list of articles you were looking at, but it’s simply a matter of hitting the bookmarklet to make them reappear, if there’s more than one article on that page that catches your eye.
If you think there’s a source missing that’s similar to the site you’re on, you can suggest it by adding the URL yourself.
Submitting a site is not an automated process, but rather will be considered by the team behind the site. This is important for one key reason: the content you’re being presented with is not entirely machine generated. The fact that sites are chosen, and singled out, by individuals increases the likelihood of accurate content. If you’re depending entirely on a computer algorithm, there are bound to be more entries that simply won’t appeal to you.
In addition to looking up articles based on a website of your choice, from that grid you can actually access a variety of topics. The menu at the top of the page allows you to browse articles by category – the main categories are Art & Design, Business, Cars, Entertainment, Lifestyle, News, Sports, and Technology & Science. Each of these categories is further divided into even more categories. Technology & Science for example features Android, Apple, Developers, Gaming, Internet, Mobile & Tablets, and more.
In addition to browsing NextStories on the web, you can also take the browsing feature with you on the go using the free iPad app, which offers a similar experience. You can input a URL to see content similar to that as the website of your choice, and also have access to the topics listed in the menu as in the web-based version. The iPad app has a button that functions in the same manner as the bookmarklet.
When it comes to the mobile experience, StumbleUpon’s iOS app, which we reviewed earlier, definitely offers a more elegant experience, with social media carefully integrated into your reading list.
Find out more about NextStories in the video below:
If you’d rather be the one driving the content discovery experience for others, be sure to check out Quote.fm.
What do you think of NextStories? Let us know in the comments.
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