Harvard-based news app sifts through must-read stories - Metro US

Harvard-based news app sifts through must-read stories

From left, Aimee Ortiz, Max Campion, Charlie Vrettos and Harri Ganesan of the app Bri

Staying informed and finding credible news from reliable sources can be like herding cats in the chaos of social media platforms and news outlets.

But the Cambridge-born app, BriefMe provides a single destination for a ranking system that organizes the endless flow of instant information based on social media shares and clicks in real time. Their mobile app launched in the beginning of March with the goal of redefining front-page news.

“It’s amazing how much information we have access to in 2015,” said 25-year-old BriefMe CEO Max Campion. “The BriefMe Score was specifically developed to filter through the noise and deliver the most important story at that moment.”

The app is the first of its kind. It uses an algorithm to analyze the relevance of an article by measuring how far the stories have caught on in the social media atmosphere. The team at BriefMe hand-selects the leading news outlets and monitors the legitimacy of the stories.

The higher a story’s BriefMe Score, the more digital ground it covered. The algorithm filters and categorizes billions of articles shared on social media like Facebook and Twitter.

The rankings reflect significance, distribution and timeliness of stories from all over the world. The stories are displayed in a ticker that analyzes reader interest in a free-flowing format. The categories are broken down into politics, entertainment, sports, business and other specific groups.

“When you only get your news from certain outlets, you can miss a lot,” said Campion. “BriefMe users are given information from heavily trafficked sources all over the planet.”

At 6 p.m. local time, BriefMe publishes a list of the most distributed stories of the day. The list is not user-specific and intentionally cannot be personalized, which challenges the users to read material from sources they may not have sought out.

Campion grew up in Brookline and said that creating and running a company in Boston is the source of immense hometown pride.

Since the early days in Harvard’s Innovation Lab, BriefMe blossomed into a five-person operation, which hopes to help newsreaders make sense of the cluttered information in order to stay informed at the very moment news breaks.

“Staying informed can be an overwhelming task in the 24 hour news realm,” said Campion. “It’s easy for people to live in a bit of a bubble when it comes to choosing where their news comes from.”

BriefMe News is a free iOS app available for download now on the App Store or at www.Getbriefme.com.

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