Okay, this is cool: A smartphone app that bridges the gap between print and digital, making it easy for print readers to digitally share what they are reading.
Peekster, already a thing in the UK, made its U.S. debut at TechCrunch Disrupt NY earlier this month. With the app, readers of the printed New York Times, WSJ and other publications can “whip out their smartphone and digitally ‘clip’ an article from the paper edition they’re reading by scanning a few words from the headline or first paragraph,” explains Natasha Lomas In TechCrunch.
“In other words, the app enables a newspaper reader to connect their offline reading with their online identity and networks,” Lomas notes.
The app employs optical character recognition to identify a digital version of the printed piece, call it up from partner RSS feeds or other sources, and lets users clip or “tag” that content. These tags can then be shared via social media like any other digital item.
And it serves as a de facto discovery engine as well, Lomas explains.
“Where a publication’s content is not currently being linked to within the app [like the NY Times, WSJ and other initial partners], Peekster will suggest related similar articles based on the words the user scanned — so you can use it as a related content discovery engine too, if you wish,” she notes.
So how does the app make money?
“To be clear, Peekster says it is not maintaining a database of publishers’ content itself (to avoid any copyright issues). It’s either looking at a publication’s RSS feed to locate the content a user is after, or doing a web search, says co-founder Tine Hamler,” according to Lomas.
“Ultimately it’s hoping to be able to persuade a sub-set of publishers to pay for the privilege of having their content in front of Peekster’s audience.”
Kudos to the app team for creating a truly cross-channel tool that understands how people really want to read and share.