The App Bulletin
We were only too happy when a flurry of news apps flooded the app stores. It meant we could read what was important on the go, without the bother of actually carrying a newspaper. Don’t get us wrong. We love print. But this business of digitisation has made life incredibly easy. What was even more delightful was we could pick what we wanted to know. Now, how does that work? This new range of user-friendly applications carry customizable news. Big sports junkie? Fine. Receive dollops of updates on every sport out there. Want to know what Modi’s doing with his newfound power? Sure thing. Does North West prefer rapper dad Kanye or flamboyant mom Kim? The universe wants to know. Verve gives you a pick of the choicest news apps doing the rounds (including an Indian variant) that ensure you are at your cerebral best.
1. Skygrid: A simple, basic app designed for those who prefer to be given the news as it is. No fluff, no fancy design, no elaborate features. Skygrid has three main divisions: Top News, Your News and Sections (highlighting topics). This one’s as straightforward as they come.
2. Flipboard: describes itself as a personal magazine. As soon as you’ve made your account, it asks you to select a few topics so it can already project news items of your interest. It’s got a Pinterest-esque layout but you create different magazines (and name them) instead of boards. There is an option of following blogs too. It’s an interactive app with superlative images and an attractive layout. You want to read each story. This is a highly personalised way of reading news and if I was choosing one news app, it would be Flipboard.
3. Circa: Quite a basal app, Circa allows you to follow stories, not topics, which we found a little dodgy. I don’t only want to know about Rafa’s injuries. Receiving updates about tennis, as a whole, would make more sense.
4. News 360: This one has special editions for USA, Canada, UK and Australia. We obviously gravitated towards the World News counterpart. Quite elaborate, News 360 has an offbeat choice of topics such as Space, Healthy Living and Good News to add to the usual selection. It actually has a teensy feedback section headlining each story – a Like/Unlike option to instantly know what readers prefer. Efficient and entertaining.
5. Pipes: The only fully conceptualised and developed Indian news app, Pipes is compatible with Windows, Android and Apple. Armed with some really cool features and an impressive design, Pipes makes scrounging for news quite fun. Created by a team of young professionals, it facilitated an important update in September. Here’s a quick 5 with 21-year-old CEO, Vinay Anand, on the challenges and intricacies of developing a news app
1. There is a wide variety of apps in the market. Why a news app?
Well yes, there are close to 2 million apps today. For us though, it was not about what category of apps we had to get into, we had a need to personalise the way we got our news, and that’s exactly what Pipes does for us.
2. What was the biggest challenge faced when developing Pipes?
The tech offered its biggest challenge, as we had to source data on every little aspect. Pipes literally allows you to track anything, anything that’s making news. While we had a great team and an incredible CTO who charted out things really well, it did take sometime to get things in order.
3. What, according to you, is the best feature of Pipes?
The option to track the things I love and stay updated by customising Push Notifications to 1 per day or 2 per day, is a standout for me. You don’t need to even look at the app, just set your Pipes up, setup ‘push’ and the frequency and you are good to go.
4. What topics usually get the most hits?
Hollywood, Celebrities, Sports & Gossip are the ones that get tracked the most. The most followed Pipe though is someone who the entire world’s following: Kim Kardashian.
5. Tell us a little about the update.
The new update promises to be one of our biggest and comes with a Summary feature, Speed Update, Improved content accuracy and an all new design.
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