Last week, Google launched Google Play Newsstand, an app that eases mobile news consumption by consolidating the previous Currents and Magazines apps for Android. Readers can access all their magazine and newspaper subscriptions in one place. Newsstand will also replace the iOS app Currents.
A smart newsstand
Google’s new simple to use app aggregates the latest news from readers’ favourite news apps and pushes the content to a “Read Now” section. This smart app learns what users like to read, making customized suggestions to maximize readers’ experience and time. Newsstand’s director of product management, Scott Dougall, claims: “The more you use it, the better it gets. Even on day one, it’s super relevant.”
Several features enhance the app’s learning capacity. Newsstand tags all articles and allows a reader, through a single tap, to access a feed of similar articles. In “My News,” readers can access all the news items related to the tags they select to follow.
Catering to a subscription market
In the effort to capture the digital market, news and magazine publishers unsuccessfully tried to market their own apps. In a second wave headed by Flipboard, app companies consolidated these publishers but did not include the paid subscription market. Newsstand users can subscribe to newspapers and magazines through Play.
Google’s high-profile publication partners – including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal – have participated in the design of text and multimedia content for smartphones and tablets to make it consistent with their print publications and familiar to its readership. New Yorker readers, for example, can access audio of readings of articles and poems.
Digital news indigestion?
The constant news feed provided by access to about 1,900 free and subscription publications (including blogs and websites) can cause some digestion problems. The app continuously refreshes with hundreds of new articles, creating a blur of Google cards, to which are pinned a headline and an image. With the popularity of social news sharing on Facebook and Twitter, gorging on news alone might feel somewhat perverse. On the other hand, titbits discovered through solitary news exploration may provide the fodder for engagement through social media news sharing outlets.