[iPhone] Resultly attempts to deliver Google Alerts in real time

mzl.kmwcqtxg.320x480-75One my all-time favorite authors is Warren Ellis, of “Transmetropolitan” and “Gun Machine” fame. In a recent edition of his email newsletter, Ellis drew my attention to an app that sounds really cool. Even though he was a bit disparaging about the app itself, the concept sounded cool. He wrote, “If anyone knows of a decent news app that does what Resultly promises and fails at – collects news per selected keyword AND shouts a notification – please let me know.” I hadn’t heard of Resultly prior to this, so I wanted to check it out and see if it really does “fail” at what it sets out to do, as Ellis seems to suggest.

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

Resultly provides real-time or periodic news and shopping updates to users based on their preferences.

Pros

  • Sign up with Facebook or email
  • Follow news and alerts across many categories, including travel, housing, news, jobs, products, deals, books, social, or media
  • Get fresh news, or use the app to do price comparisons
  • Get alerts sent to your email or mobile as frequently or infrequently as you would like

Cons

  • Clunky interface
  • Retrieval of news seems spotty and incomplete
  • Many users have complained that adjusting the notification settings to receive fewer emails does not work, and they have been inundated with spammy notifications
  • Users are forced to pick 5 interests after sign up, but the list of available interests is severely limited

Discussion

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Having to pick 5 interests from a limited list is quite the annoying way to start off with the app. There were only 2 things I was interested in from their proposed list of 15 items. And some of those items on the list were just plain wrong! I’m certainly not signing up for misspelled deal alerts (such as “sweedish” massage.)

Only offering 15 choices and then forcing users to pick 5 before they can move along….it’s just not on. Granted, you can immediately delete any of the 5 you were forced to select once you’ve moved a bit further into the app, but it remains an annoyance. From within the app, you can select different interests in categories like travel, housing, news, jobs, products, deals, books, social, or media.

If you’re under the news category, you’ll be asked to pick not only keywords but also the news site. Having to pick a news source seems counter intuitive: I don’t know where the latest breaking news will be reported from first, so having to pick seems odd. I guess if you want to pick a specific news agent, there are cases where that makes sense…but unfortunately, the news listings aren’t in any sort of discernible alphabetical order!

I also kept getting the error message “You don’t have any News or Social interests yet,”…but I do! In short, even after adjusting the frequency of notification settings, this app just seems slow to react. Many of the categories I set notifications for produced zero results, despite being trending topics.

Overall, this app has a clunky design, and is just too slow to provide notifications even when “real time” is selected. Moreover, there were things added that I never wanted alerts on! It does okay on political news, but pop culture/entertainment news is bad, and dining deals are way off the mark…if you get any at all.

Conclusion and download link

I thought my initial perceptions of Resultly would be colored by Warren Ellis, and perhaps it was. However, I really did want to like this app: I could really use something like this! Sadly, my final feeling is that this app needs a full top to bottom rethinking, from the visual look of the app to its internal structure for finding and delivering notifications. I still think this app has promise, but for now, it’s kind of a mess.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 2.0.3

Supported OS: Requires iOS 5.1 or later

Download size: 26.8 MB

Resultly on Apple App Store

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