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November 02, 2012

Interest in New App Leads to Minor Problems for Website


The massive interest in the new Summly app – developed by a teenager from London and backed by actor Stephen Fry and singer Yoko Ono – was so strong that the site had some minor problems with the overwhelming demand.

The smartphone app, which offers summaries of news items, reached number nine in Apple's (News - Alert) app store two hours after it was released recently in the United States, according to news reports.

“The response has been overwhelming in the past 24 hours,” the 17-year-old designer of the app, Nick D'Aloisio, stated in a blog post. “We are humbled by the acceptance of Summly as a new and innovative solution for news on mobile.”

The Register reports that the app is in the top three downloaded apps in the United Kingdom.

“We are currently experiencing some minor problems handling the demand and you can trust that these problems will be fixed very soon,” an announcement on the website read on Friday.

The app can be downloaded for free. It provides summaries of news stories from diverse sources.

“Summly's easy-to-use app … automatically determines the most relevant facts in a story and automatically generates short summaries that help the reader quickly grasp the main points from diverse news sources, from the Wall Street Journal to ESPN (News - Alert),” a company statement revealed.

D'Aloisio celebrated his 17th birthday on Thursday. D'Aloisio thought of the app while doing research exams.

He commented, "I was using the Internet to find more information about a particular subject, and was finding that I kept clicking through to websites that in the end didn’t have the information I needed. I wondered why there wasn’t a better way for people to preview information before they did a deep dive."

He later partnered with specialists in artificial intelligence and design in order to develop the app.

"I designed Summly because I felt that my generation wasn't consuming traditional news anymore. In designing for the mobile generation, I believe we've created an app that will benefit anyone who loves reading news on-the-go,” he added.

Summly is backed by several investors beyond Ono and Fry, such as: Horizons Ventures, Ashton Kutcher, Betaworks (News - Alert), Brian Chesky, Hosain Rahman, Joanna Shields, Josh Kushner, Mark Pincus, Matt Mullenweg, Rupert Murdoch and Troy Carter.The app received more than $1 million in funding thus far from investors.




Edited by Jamie Epstein
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