CNN revamps ‘Trends,’ adds Zite branding

CNN has retooled the “Trends” section of its website and now is touted as being powered by Zite.

CNN purchased iPad app Zite in August of 2011. Zite offers a magazine-like reading experience with content gathered from numerous sources and tailored to an individual’s interests.

The previous CNN Trends focused heavily on CNN stories and used a simple table layout with a bar chart showing the story’s popularity.

The redesigned version sorts stories into large blocks of content, with a CNN story at prominently displayed to the left along with content culled from other sources, much like Zite.

That said, there appears to be little else in common to the Zite app. For example, no user customization is offered and social and “read it later” integration is minimal. In addition, CNN Trends simply links out to the article, rather than using the cleanly reformatted version Zite uses for most content.

In short, the whole effort comes off as a veiled promotion for Zite. In fact, the whole “trends” concept seems to be a bit lost — sure there are number rankings for each story, but it’s not as clear as to why these stories are chosen and how they are ranked.

Graphically the new section abandons the clean design found on the rest of the CNN site and uses a darker color scheme and displays “Trends” in a typeface that’s a bit reminiscent of the over-the-top treatment found in the “CNN Newsroom” graphics package redesign.