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If you’ve been impatiently waiting for Flipboard to launch a desktop version of the cross-platform app, you don’t have to wait any longer. And it’s not because Flipboard, Zite, or any other competitor finally put together a web-based version of awesome curated content – it’s actually thanks to a newcomer that I can finally get my Flipboard-fix from the comfort of a Web browser.

Prismatic brings the curated content of the Flipboard generation to your browser of choice. Like with Flipboard, you can select your preferred sources or publishers (including MakeUseOf) or if you are in the mood for discovering new content on your favourite topics, you can select keywords instead.

Prismatic marries the best of Flipboard and Zite, placing it in one easy-to-use web app.

Getting Started

After signing up for your Prismatic account, using your Facebook, Twitter or Google account, you will be prompted to invite your friends to the service while you wait for a confirmation email from the service. You can then begin to add your interests – connecting your Twitter, Facebook and Google accounts will also enable Prismatic to create an accurate list of suggested interests.

After you’ve added your favourite topics or sites, you can open up your personalized homepage, which you’ll find packed with interesting content. Each post is accompanied by a brief excerpt and accompanying image, as well as tweets from people who have shared it on Twitter. A sidebar features a search option, access to your top 10 sources or topics, and more suggested topics. The menu also includes a Top News section, featuring some of the trending news topics for that day. You can also drill down and open up a page featuring content from just one source or on just one topic.

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In addition to receiving suggested topics by connecting your accounts, there are other advantages to adding all of your accounts to your Prismatic account. You will be able to easily share content to your social network followers directly from Prismatic, and will also receive content based on what the people you follow on Twitter are sharing.

Personalizing Your Content

Prismatic is the kind of app that gets better at suggesting content the more you use it. Each story is accompanied by three buttons – the ‘X’ button indicates that you don’t like the story, the ‘+’ button adds the post to your favourites, and the final button allows you to share the story to your social networks. You can keep track of your favourites, articles you’ve read, and articles you’ve shared all under your profile tab.

Prismatic use semantic algorithms to make sure that the content it serves up is something you would actually be interested in. As far as content is concerned, we were just as impressed with the selection as we have been with Zite in the past.

By analyzing content that you’ve been sharing on Twitter or Facebook, Prismatic is able to figure out your taste, suggesting not only topics but sites that you may not have heard about. The idea is that you’ll be able to discover content that isn’t already loaded into your RSS reader, or that your friends aren’t sharing.

Share Your Content with Others

Not only can you share content easily from Prismatic to your social networks, you can also create a personalized profile page with a photograph, a list of your interests, but more importantly, the articles you’ve added to your favourites and have shared on social networks will be listed.

With a unique profile page, Prismatic also becomes a personalized magazine that you can share with others. Automated services like Paper.li can be frustrating, but by giving you complete control over what appears on your Prismatic profile page, you can direct your friends and followers to view all the latest articles you want to share from one page, rather than flood your timeline.

Our Verdict

Prismatic offers its users the best personalized content we’ve seen that doesn’t come on an iOS or Android app – and it couldn’t be easier to use. That said, the layout is a little outdated. It is easy to skim through a large selection of articles and simply click on the article of your choice and read it on its original website, but compared to Pocket’s slick browser layout , as an example, Prismatic could use a facelift.

The app has the potential to not only serve as a desktop alternative to Zite and Flipboard, but also gives users an interesting alternative to the traditional RSS reader.

While Prismatic is currently desktop only, an iPhone interface is in the works as well, and if there is a consistent experience between the two, where content you’ve already viewed on one device won’t appear on the other, Prismatic has the potential to blow iOS and Android apps like Zite and Flipboard right out of the water.

Have you tried Prismatic? Let us know what you think of it in the comments.

Image Credit: Matt Callow

  1. Lorenzo
    November 18, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Prismatic doesn't love Windows 10 Mobile. :(

  2. HannibalCat
    August 24, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Prismatic is good - though it isn't going to replace Feedly for me yet - it does manage to dig out stories that I haven't seen elsewhere. I don't check it as religiously as Feedly, but usually every day or so. A very nice idea.

  3. Clinton Wu
    August 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Nice review of Primsatic Nancy. If readers are looking for more of an image based reader, we're building Skim.Me (http://skim.me) to make your daily browsing routines more productive. Our main benefits as compared to what's out there are:

    1) we want you to get caught up then go do other things so we promote scheduled and timed batches of browsing throughout the day rather than constant checking

    2) instead of interest based, we use a plugin to figure out your browsing patterns so we can aggregate, organize and serve you content from the sources you habitually check so content changes with each browsing batch

    3) we're not just news and social media. if you check new ecommerce products, your calendar, and bank account every morning, we'll eventually show you all that info.

    Would love for some readers to join our private alpha! Releasing in a couple weeks. Any feedback feel free to hit me up at wu at skim dot me

  4. Don Partlan
    August 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Looks like it can access but not sync with your Google Reader account. I'll stick with Readefine for my home computer and Flipboard for my iPad.

    • Nancy Messieh
      August 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      From what I can see Readefine is an RSS client right? You can't add general topics, only sites? That kind of defeats the purpose for me because apps like Zite and Flipboard allow you to follow topics and that's their strength. If I'm going to use an RSS reader, Google's web interface does the trick.

  5. Timothy Liem
    August 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    is this kind of RSS reader? never heard of Flipboard before (silly me :D)

    • Nancy Messieh
      August 11, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      It's a similar concept as an RSS reader but instead of only being able to subscribe to specific sites or blogs - you can subscribe to entire topics which makes it great for discovering new sites.

    • Clinton Wu
      August 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      Timothy, if you're looking for more of an image based reader, we're building something to make your daily browsing routines more productive.

      Our main benefits as compared to what's out there are: 1) we promote scheduled and timed batches of browsing throughout the day rather than constant checking 2) instead of interest based, we figure out your browsing patterns so we can aggregate, organize and serve you content from the sources you habitually check throughout the day 3) we're not just news and social media. if you check new ecommerce products, your calendar, and bank account every morning, we'll eventually show you all that info.

      We're releasing the first version of skim.me in a couple weeks.

  6. Ashwin Ramesh
    August 11, 2012 at 4:48 am

    nice :)

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