Guide Hits Uncanny Valley in Search of Personalized News

Do you find yourself reading a lot of news? So much that it seems impossible to get through in a timely manner? Or perhaps you’re interested in getting your news while on the go, in the gym or on a commute. Whatever your ire, it’s difficult to read all of the news you want every day, and it’s difficult to find a news broadcast that has every story you want. That’s the problem that Knight Foundation-backed Miami startup Guide is trying to solve  by providing personalized news broadcasts on demand.

Guide, which will debut on iOS this year, is able to do this by ingesting selected articles on websites and feeding them through a text-to-speech reader. The output is then presented via an “avatar” who anchors a broadcast that seamlessly transitions from one news story to the next. The system also incorporates video and pictures to put together an uncanny news show, and cleverly scrolls comments below in a news-ticker style.

The product is still in stealth mode, but check out an alpha demo of the blog PSFK below.

It’s far from perfect, and the avatar can use plenty of work — while it appears to be human and smoothly transitions not only from sentence to sentence but also from story to story, the lips move unnaturally in a way that makes watching the video uncomfortable. Still, it’s an impressive presentation for a startup that’s yet to even launch in beta, so it will be interesting to see how the software will grow.

What do you think of Guide’s product? Is it something you would use in your news-reading experience? Let us know in the comments.