Yahoo Acquires Google Reader Competitor Summly

By Devon Glenn 

Yahoo! Inc. has acquired Summly, a mobile app for browsing article summaries pulled from around the web. The news follows Google’s decision to shut down Google Reader this summer.

Summly uses an algorithm to find stories on any topic from publishers like the Wall Street Journal or NBC News, summarizes the contents, and formats them for a smartphone or tablet.

Although London developer Nick D’Aloisio was only 15 years old when he created Summly, the app has already received Apple’s Best Apps of 2012 award for Intuitive Touch.

Yahoo executive Adam Cahan explained the company’s motive for the acquisition in a blog post this morning:

Mobile devices are shifting our daily routines, and users have changed not only what, but how much information they consume. Yet most articles and web pages were formatted for browsing with mouse clicks. The ability to skim them on a phone or a tablet can be a real challenge — we want easier ways to identify what’s important to us.

Summly solves this by delivering snapshots of stories, giving you a simple and elegant way to find the news you want, faster than ever before. For publishers, the Summly technology provides a new approach to drive interest in stories and reach a generation of mobile users that want information on the go.

D’Aloisio, who will join Yahoo along with the rest of the Summly team when the deal is finalized, said not to be alarmed when the app disappears from the app store — it’s only taking a “power nap.”

Founded in 2011, Summly has raised a total of $1.53 in funding from Li Ka-shing, Horizons Ventures, and a number of other investors such as Ashton Kutcher, Airbnb’s Brian Chesky, and Zynga’s Mark Pincus. The terms of the sale were not disclosed, but AllThingsD’s sources say it was purchased for close to $30 million.