Yahoo is planning to shut down its News Digest app at the end of June after launching it less than three years ago.
In a News Digest app update, Yahoo said: “We will not be creating any new digests as of June 30, 2017. We’ve loved serving you guys all these years.”
Rolled out in January 2014, News Digest is based on technology developed by British tech entrepreneur Nick D’Aloisio that aggregated and summarised stories from different publications into a single paragraph.
Yahoo reportedly paid $US30 million (£23.5 million) for D’Aloisio’s app, originally called Summly, and gave him a job as part of the deal. At the time, D’Aloisio was just 17 years old. He then helped Yahoo turn Summly into News Digest — a more polished product (complete with Yahoo branding) that it could push out to its audience.
Yahoo was taken over by Verizon on June 13 in a $US4.5 billion (£3.6 billion) deal. News Digest is therefore one of the first cuts that Verizon has made at Yahoo.
News Digest was downloaded 9.5 million times, according to App Annie, a platform that tracks app downloads.
Through the app, iPhone and iPod Touch users were able to receive news customised for where they were in the world twice a day: once in the morning and again in the evening.
Describing the app when it launched, D’Aloisio said: “Our Digests provide a definitive summary of all the need-to-know news so you can stay on top of what’s happening. To help you get informed quickly, our stories are generated from multiple sources and are assembled from essential ‘bits and pieces’ of information, which we call atoms’.
“The atomic units aren’t all text and include maps, infographics, stock tickers, Wikipedia extracts, videos, photos, quotes and more. We’ve just launched two new atoms in this version; weather and statistics. The digest itself is algorithmically produced but editorially curated demonstrating the perfect blend of technology and journalism.”
left Yahoo two years after selling his news-aggregation app to the Silicon Valley giant to focus on his computer science and philosophy studies at Oxford University. Some of his work at Oxford has already been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
D’Aloisio’s LinkedIn profile suggests that he worked at Yahoo from April 2013 to October 2015. He was also an “entrepreneur in residence” at Airbnb from July 2015 to October 2015.
While at Yahoo, D’Aloisio worked as a product manager and helped now ex-CEO Marissa Mayer launch News Digest, which was underpinned by Summly algorithms. The app went on to win an Apple Design Award in June 2014.
Speaking with Techworld in May 2014, D’Aloisio said: “I’ve no idea where I’ll be in five years. I could be at Yahoo … I could be at university … I could be doing another company. But wherever I am, I want to innovate and create companies or ideas that I’m super-passionate about.”
Get the latest Yahoo stock price here.