Vancouver’s Worio spins tech into Zite to take on Flipboard

Vancouver’s launched a service that would help to redefine search engines by helping people discover items that were related to what they were searching for. But now they have added a second product that also leverages their patent-pending machine learning technology.

Zite is a tablet-based digital magazine that aggregates content that is personalized based on a user’s interests.

While their machine learning technology was previously used to automatically tag webpages that are related to a subject, the technology is now being used to suggest articles and other content that is related to a person’s interest.

When people sign up, they select subjects that are interesting to them. Articles are then presented to them with images designed to look like a magazine and users can then indicate if they liked an article.

Zite also recommends articles based on whether a user likes mainstream news sources or niche blogs, long articles or shorter ones, as well as what kinds of articles are preferred, such as news, features or opinions. Over time Zite gets smarter and recommends different articles.

Zite’s obvious competitor is iPad darling Flipboard but its approach is different. Flipboard approaches recommendations from a social perspective, recommending articles based on what your friends are reading, while Zite recommends articles based on what each individual is interested in.

Yaletown-based Worio was founded by UBC students and has been funded to date by angel investors as well as grants from Canada’s National Research Council and PRECARN. Worio CEO Ali Davar has written guest blog posts on Techvibes in the past including one titled Running a Startup outside of the Valley.