You can now catch up on your day’s Web reading with your eyes closed, thanks to a startup aptly named Pimp My News. The nine-month-old service converts thousands of blog and news sites’ content into audio files that can be played either via an online or mobile interface, or downloaded for use on an MP3 player.
A scan through the service’s available categories shows you the wide variety of content available. Almost any news/blog genre you can imagine is included somewhere. Within the technology tab, you’ll find everything from Apple news to gadget reviews, Internet blogs, social media discussions, and startup spotlights.
Most categories seem to have a fairly decent mix of material. Right now, for example, the “social media” tab leads off with Mashable’s morning story about the food service rumors within Google. Click onto the “top bloggers” tab and you’ll find audio of some recent Scoble posts at the top of the page.
The two downsides to the system are both time-related. First, turnaround time: Many of the top entries are several hours old and more recent postings have yet to appear. Still, the content that is present is easy to access and generally tolerable enough for listening. A male computer voice acts as the narrator and seems to be pretty accurate as far as pronunciations. Second, loading time: The service is a bit on the pokey side and a little slow to load, at least during the times at which we’ve accessed it.
The Inquisitr, incidentally, is not yet featured on Pimp My News. We’ve officially requested it, though — and the service makes it clear that it’s happy to make additions for anyone missing their favorite sites in the mix…so stay tuned. (Update: The Inquisitr is now featured.)
Pimp My News is free to use and ad-supported. The only real limitation is in building a personalized podcast or playlist: You are limited to 10 sources and a 10 minute daily program. In general use of the site, though — whether through the Web interface or the iPhone-optimized mobile interface — you are unrestricted in your activity.
Our vote: Great idea, great service. Being able to load up your MP3 player with reading — rather, listening — for the morning drive is a cool convenience. And the mobile accessibility makes any on-the-go catching up easy to do, particularly if you’re not stationary and are thus unable to sit down and read. We’ll be curious to see if Pimp My News looks into some type of “premium” pay service in the future or if the ad model will prove sufficient to support it. We also hope the turnaround time and site speed will improve as the service grows and develops. All combined, though, Pimp My News is an offering well-worth giving a whirl. We suspect you just may love it.