News by Andrew Kameka on Thursday February 21, 2013.
|Sponsored links, if any, appear in green.|
News reading apps are so plentiful that's it's more like a penny a dozen than it is dime a dozen, so News360 opted to make a major change to is Android app in order to improve its position against competitors. The new News360 has a lock screen widget for Android 4.2 and a Holo-inspired designed, but the real changes take place in the way the app delivers articles.
News360 has always given users the option to follow stories from thousands of sources, including multiple outlets covering the same story, but the new version is designed to focus more on relevant news. There's still a very high number of articles included in each section, but users can now send signals that help determine which type of stories appear more often. For instance, The Technology section features nearly 40 outlets covering a possible Apple iWatch story. Giving a thumbs up sign will tell News360 that the story interests you, so subsequent viewing of the app will float more Apple stories to the top; a thumbs down decreases the chances of more iWatch articles appearing near the top. News360 learns from user habits for reading, rating, and sharing articles so that it optimizes over time to become more accurate.
Personalization is enhanced if users decide to link with Facebook or Twitter profiles. When I connected the app to Facebook, it used my profile data to bring up news on my college and suggested additional topics that I may want add, such as my home state and favorite sports team. The same type of suggestions are available in each category, though the algorithm sometimes makes laughable misstakes. The Music suggested topics to follow offered up a useful recommendation for Kanye West, but it also showed his girlfriend Kim Kardashian and several other celebrities with no connection to music.
Readers also gain new options for organizing the sections that appear in News360, so it's easier to choose the topics that they wish to follow. The Home tab lists all of the favorite feeds and subcategories, and switching between categories or stories is enabled through a simple swipe gesture. They can swipe down to begin reading articles and alternate between Web or Reader views to access content.
News360 is available for free in Google Play. The app should work on most Android devices, but Android 4.2 devices and higher can use
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.