It’s been compared to Siri, but quite unlike Apple’s personal assistant, Winston doesn’t come up with dumb answers to your stupid questions, nor does it give you any backchat.
Instead, Winston is more of a voice-enabled, visually-orientated news reader, scanning your social media accounts and favorite news websites for the most relevant content, which it then presents in a kind of cinematic news program custom-made just for you.
Winston is pretty damn clever. It can pick out and decipher garbled tweets to tell you what they actually mean. It can read your Facebook messages to tell if one of your friends has broken up or if someone has passed away. It can identify the most interesting headlines for you personally from the pick of your favorite websites.
When it kicks into gear each morning, Winston provides a quick kind of “morning brieifing” of everything that matters to you that’s happened while you’ve been asleep. You can watch the visual presentation as a kind of morning news show, complete with images of news items, tweets and status updates, or simply listen as you go about your morning routine.
Winston greets you with a “Good Morning, Mike,” and jumps straight into the morning’s weather forecast for your area, then moves on to the most important tweets and updates on your social news feed, keeping you up to date with your friends and family’s goings on.
Once that’s out the way, Winston moves onto the biggest news stories of the day, including both national and local items. It can even go through the news based on categories you choose, such as business, sport or technology news headlines.
All of this is delivered in a polite, British accented voice, just like your own personal that butler you’ve always dreamed of having.
Winston is the creation of Reactor Labs, a startup based in Boulder that aims to improve the way consumers relate to the web:
“With Winston, we wanted to create a new way for people to interact with their personal web,” said Aaron Ting, CEO and co-founder of Reactor Labs.
“So much of our day is spent leaning forward to read a tiny screen. We wanted people to lean back and listen. We wanted to start a new conversation between people and technology, one that empowers and inspires them to stay informed about the world around them.”
Here’s a short video illustrating just what Winston is capable of:
The app is available as a free download from the Apple App Store for the iPhone and Apple TV. Its makers say that an Android version is also in the works, but gives no date as to when this might come available.