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UK teen's app creates stir

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 03:09

Jan. 24 - London student Nick D'Aloisio has been thrust into the global spotlight after his iPhone app won the backing of an investment company controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing. Technology correspondent Matt Cowan reports.

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It's a school day and sixteen year old student Nick D'Aloisio is at the library. But he's not studying. He's here to take part in a panel on the future of search and discuss his new iPhone app called Summly. SOUNDBITE: Nick D'Aloisio, App Developer, saying (English): "So we're currently an iPhone application. We've had great success. We've had over a hundred thousand downloads since our launch early December. We were Apple's App of the Week last week in some European countries. We've obviously had some good press and positive reviews from our users." This, by the way, is the British Library - an institution with the ambitious mission of advancing the world's knowledge. It's an extraordinary situation for someone of D'Aloisio's young age to be looked to as an expert in a building that houses some of the world's greatest literary treasures, but if you can believe it this is actually one of the less eventful days he's experienced in recent memory. Frank Meehan works for Horizons Ventures, and last year invested 250,000 dollars in D'Aloisio's technology on behalf of Li Ka-shing, one of the world's wealthiest individuals. SOUNDBITE: Frank Meehan, Investor, saying (English): "Nick started coding when he was 11. By the time when he was 14 he'd already had 3 applications out there which had done pretty well on the app store. And then the fact that he then took some of the earnings out of that and started to go further and started to hire people to work on theorems he'd been working on - that's pretty unusual. It's that kind of drive you see from the Zuckerberg's and the like." So just what is Summly? D'Aloisio, succintly summarizes... SOUNDBITE: Nick D'Aloisio, App Developer, saying (English): "So Summly allows you to browse the web in a concise and effective manner by providing succint summaries of search results, articles or web pages. And you can see the format of a summary. You get three to five bullet points that summarize the content within that web page and you're equally given key topics that the algorithm has detected within that article and so this is obviously useful when browsing the web and doing a search on a mobile device because the screen is quite small." Summly has not only won Apple's coveted App of the Week honours, it's also attracted attention from major tech firms in Silicon Valley. SOUNDBITE: Nick D'Aloisio, App Developer, saying (English): "So we'd interest from some companies that had reached out, so we did go and meet at their headquarters." TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT MATT COWAN ASKS: "Can you tell me who?| SOUNDBITE: Nick D'Aloisio, App Developer, saying (English): "I can't. We're under NDA so I'd be breaking the law. We did meet some companies. We did meet some fans of Summly, more famous enthusiasts and equally I just wanted to go out and get some advice from entrepreneurs, from founders, from CEOs of other iPhone app companies, and other companies in general because obviously I'm extremely young and the more experience I can have in the Valley the better." D'Aloisio says he plans for to continue his education, while buidling a business that ultimately aims to change the way people view the web. SOUNDBITE: Nick D'Aloisio, App Developer, saying (English): "Summarization is a space that hasn't been explored yet at all and so we're in a new era, or new space. The technology is in its early days but already extremely effective." The same might be said for the technology's author. Matt Cowan, Reuters

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UK teen's app creates stir

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 03:09

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