Smart News Readers May Like News360, a New iPad News App
Russian startup News360 released a feature-rich iPad app this morning that makes it easier to learn a lot about current events than does any single news source. The interface isn’t as responsive or as attractive as it could be, but the app has a whole lot of potential. At the price of free, it’s worth taking a look at (iTunes link).
The service aggregates coverage from multiple outlets about each story, like Google News does, and includes Twitter discussions about the topics. News360 users can scroll through images about a story, dive down into definitions of terms on a page, sign up for a personalized feed of stories from select sources or by topic and more. News360 will unveil its new app today at the Demo conference; ReadWriteWeb will have ongoing coverage of other launches from that event today.
I like the idea behind News360 but I’m not sure yet about the execution. Aggregating coverage from multiple sources can work well and is certainly scalable when it’s as automated as this service seems to be, but I’m left with the feeling that a human editorial touch could make a big difference. The different write-ups on each story are too often very similar, they don’t add anything unique.
The human-powered Newsy (our coverage) does something very similar but is heavily human-edited and results in short videos. That’s a great app. It also doesn’t produce nearly as much content as News360.
Humans are good at writing news stories and machines are good at recommending individual links on a topic, but so far I’m not seeing a machine that’s good enough at weaving together multiple sources on a single topic without some human intervention.
That said, News360 is doing some very interesting things and is worth a look. I really like the way the app highlights keywords, lets you look up their definitions and other news stories about those words. I wish I could highlight any word in an article, ala Apture, but this is a move in a good direction.
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