Summly: Instantly Summarized Results

Too much stuff to read?  Try out Summly for iPhone/iPad.  It works 2 ways.  In the search scenario, enter your keywords and instead of returning a bunch of cryptic titles, it provides a brief summary for each web page returned.  Click on one and you’ll get a condensed version of the article – 3 bullet points summarizing what its algorithm determines are the most salient points.  You can also type in a URL directly and get the bullet point summary.  A link to the web page is right at the top in case you want to read the whole thing.

The developer says it works best with long news or scholarly articles.  In fact, he was trying to create a “Cliff Notes” for web pages to help them get through school.  MIT tested it out:

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have tested Summly’s patent pending summarisation technology, demonstrating that it outperforms the highest academically published results by a factor of up to 30%. Summly’s technology is state-of-the-art and yields extremely accurate and precise results through AI, Machine Learning and Ontology techniques.

And I tested it out, too.  It worked pretty well for summarizing “dense” articles but did a terrible job with average news posts.  I checked out a few political type and sports articles and the resulting summaries poorly represented the original article.  Plus, it won’t even summarize anything less than 500 words.

There were also some issues with certain websites. A few times I got an error message saying the page was improperly formatted.

The search summaries were mixed but overall, better than the “title” returns you normally get from standard search engines.  I’ll probably use this feature more as it gives you a good overview of news/articles on a topic.  And I’ll give it a try when I’m doing some “scholarly” research.  CRE agents might want to try it out for market reports or industry research…if you can find them online and not in PDF format.  Now that would be a great feature – to summarize PDFs…

Download this app: iPhone, iPad

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