It works by noting my interests, and finding more based on a complex personalization algorithm. I'm constantly finding compelling articles and sharing them with friends and colleagues.
Today, Zite shared some data about the terms users select to seed the app. They've broken it down by state, and the results are interesting. It's clear the US is not homogeneous in interests -- that's obvious to most of us -- but it's really clear in the Zite data.
Click here for an interactive map and move your mouse over each state. You'll see a variety of search terms over each state. It's not a list of the top search terms by state, but rather how those states differ from other parts of the country.
For example, the term 'code warriors' comes up in California, Washington state, Colorado and Massachusetts. 'Disney' is a popular search term in California, Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey and Alabama. 'Beer' is on a lot of Zite users minds in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. 'Aliens' and 'conspiracy' searches in quantity is unique to Nevada. Area 51 anyone? In Alabama, 'Bible Study' slightly beats out 'Lingerie'.
Of course if the survey was taken today I'd expect to find 'hurricane' and 'Steve Jobs' searches, but what Zite has done is more interesting, because the differing regional interests we know exist in the US are easy to see on the map.
You can read more about the methodology here. It's an interesting stroll through some data that helps illuminate what is on American minds. Take a look at the map. Any surprises for you?