If you really want to be the first to know all the latest news, having an RSS Reader is never enough. A feed reader can give you details regarding any story, but it is not necessarily the first place where the news items are posted. You might be a bit surprised, but social networks (specially Twitter) provide a more efficient means of gathering quick updates related to just about any subject. A news channel or website might tell you about the Olympics opening ceremony, but you will have to look at your social networks in order to get a real feel of the event. This is the concept upon which the new Relevance app is based upon. This nifty little iOS app combines feeds from your Twitter and Facebook accounts (with Tumblr and Google Reader support to be added soon). The app does not show posts from your social networks in a chronological order. It tries to come up with posts that will be of more interest to you, or are more relevant to your preferences. Not only that, users of Relevance can also teach the app about their likes and dislikes regarding different authors. If you like a post from any particular person, you are likely to be shown more posts from them in the future.
Relevance starts off with a somewhat static tutorial, and users get the option to link their accounts with the app during that tutorial. However, even if you don’t do that, you can sign in from the app’s Settings menu later. To get the most out of Relevance, it is better if you link both Facebook and Twitter with the app. Once you have done that, you are all set to browse through the customized feeds presented by Relevance. The app’s interface relies heavily on gestures, and there aren’t a lot of buttons. To refresh your feeds, just swipe downwards on the top bar. It is possible to go to the next post by swiping from right to left. Each post consists of two parts. The top bar lists the name (and display picture) of the person who originally published the content, while below it is the actual text or image. Relevance supports link preview (just like the official Twitter app) and you can also perform suitable actions for each post. The top right corner of the app will let users know the source of each story (Facebook or Twitter). If the post is from your Twitter account, you can retweet it, send a tweet in reply or add the tweet to your favorites. Facebook posts have different options in the bottom bar, and support viewing of comments, adding new likes or leaving a comment of your own.
Although the app takes into account the time you spend reading each post, Relevance’s intelligence increases dramatically if you choose to help it manually. To do that, start swiping to the right on any post. Take a look at the bottom bar, and you will see that the app displays new options in this mode. You can teach the app your preferences regarding any post and poster by choosing to ignore the post, adding it to your read later list or via up and down voting.
If you want to change the time period for which the posts are displayed, you can do that by hitting the bottom right corner and adjusting the Time to cover slider. The slider below that one, Time to read, is the duration after which you will be taken to the next post automatically. The Accounts section will let you manage all your linked profiles.
Relevance is a free app, and optimized for the smaller screens of iPhone and iPod touch. If you are looking for a way to browse your social networks more efficiently, give the app a try by heading to the download link.