NZZ is developing an app that gives readers personalised news

The app uses machine learning to give readers a stream of 25 stories they might be interested in based on their preferences, but ‘always including an element of surprise’.

A year after announcing it had received funding in the first round of Google’s Digital News Initiative, Swiss daily newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) is getting ready to test the beta version of the product it has been developing over the last six months: a personalised news engine named the Companion app.

The app uses a personalisation algorithm based on machine learning to provide readers with a stream of relevant NZZ stories and understand their consumption habits. Its main goal is to help people “find the right news we’ve produced during the day with less effort”, explained Rouven Leuener, NZZ’s head of product development.

But as opposed to taking the usual route of recommending a story to someone because it is similar to an article they have already read, the app’s approach to personalisation will be based on the meaning of an article and it will “always include an element of surprise”, he added.

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