I'm sorry to hear that Circa is on indefinite hiatus. Its founders had the courage to create one of the first companies focused on mobile news, back when it was hardly clear that mobile was eating the world. They devoted years to their vision of helping people learn about the world more easily and quickly—and they influenced other apps that followed.
Circa's iOS app was cleanly designed, fast, easy-to-use, and had innovative features. The obstacle was generating sufficient revenue to pay all those talented writers and editors: Crunchbase says the company has between 11 and 50 employees, which could mean a burn rate of $2M+ a year for 11 employees (perhaps $15K a month with salary, payroll tax, employer tax, rent, insurance, etc.). That adds up quickly.
We took a different approach when building +Recent: News powered by artificial intelligence
. AI techniques are now powerful enough, and cloud costs now cheap enough, that an engine to predict what you might want to read can be operated relatively inexpensively—after, of course, the significant engineering costs involved in building it. The Recent engine attempts to deeply understand the day's news; after some 14 months, it has 1.8 billion entries in its index hosted on Google App Engine. And today's operating costs are, as of noon PT, only $10.87.
Our philosophy at Recent is that journalists should be freed from mundane tasks like grouping articles together (which Circa's editorial staff did) or assigning them to different categories based on topics. The Recent engine performs topic assignments and clustering automatically, as you can see in the below screenshot from our iOS app. Journalists' unique talents should be used to research and report.
Some good reporters and editors at Circa may now be looking for jobs. Circa editor-in-chief +Anthony De Rosa
has posted more information, and if you're in a position to hire, please take a look: http://www.antderosa.com/2015/06/24/team-circa-editorial/