Android news reading apps

Updated: December 29, 2019

2018. Microsoft launched AI-based news reading app Hummingbird



Microsoft launched a new AI news app for Android called Hummingbird. It allows to register an account with your hotmail or Linkedin email address. The benefits of logging in with an account is Microsoft being able to serve you news item that are populated with articles that they think you’ll be interested in. Just like other AI-powered services, the more you use it, the better it will understand you and your preferences. When you tap on an article, it will open in the original site but you will still see the Hummingbird title bar if you go to the reading mode so you can easily go back to the app’s main page. There are options to mute specific genres of news sources, so you can keep your feed centered around your interests, such as tech reviews or books. If there is something you are really keen about, there are social media sharing options, natch.


2017. News reading app Feedly gets filters


RSS reader Feedly added Filters, that automatically remove stories from your feeds, based on rules that you define. Filters exist on top of your feeds, shielding you from time-wasting memes and helping to surface what’s important. You can create a Mute Filter while reading. Let’s say you open a story and decide you don’t want to see any more stories like it. Use your mouse to select a keyword or phrase and click “Mute this phrase” from the menu. Filters is available only in paid versions that starts at $5/month.


2016. Instapaper premium goes free for all users



News reading app Instapaper, or to be more exact its Premium version, is now free for all users. Instapaper was acquired by Pinterest in August but the app would live on as a separate entity and continue to get updates from the Instapaper team at Pinterest. Now, under a larger umbrella with more resources, Instapaper could easily be running more as a user acquisition and stickiness play without absolutely having to monetize. Instapaper was one of the original “save it for later” readers that built up a mentality around being able to hold onto longer forms of content without simply skipping over it and missing it. It became an early popular application on the iPhone, holding high rankings in the App Store in the news category. But there’s been a lot of increasing competition from other companies like Pocket, making it tricky.


2015. Japan’s news reading app SmartNews expands globally



Japanese Flipboard alternative, SmartNews has raised $10 million to expand its presence in the U.S. The company’s founders believe that part of the reason for SmartNews’ growth is because of how the app has been built. Many aggregation service will claim to have intelligent algorithms directing what articles get recommended to users; SmartNews claims its are better. The machine learning-based recommendations focus not only on what you click on to read, but where you pause when you are browsing in the app, and what people read and pause near when they like the same things you do, comparing all of this against a massive trove of articles, to deliver to users a clean interface of things they may want to read.


2014. News reader Google Currents rebranded to Google Play Newsstand



Google Currents, Google’s magazine-like news reading iOS app and a competitor to Flipboard, is rolling out a redesign and a handful of new features, including a way to subscribe to topics you’re interested in, instead of only subscribing to publishers, blogs and RSS feeds. The company is also renaming the app to Google Play Newsstand. This change also follows the shift from Google Currents on Android. In the updated iOS Newsstand app Google has introduced revamped top-level navigation for browsing through the news content. There are now a few categories to help readers manage their subscriptions as well as dive into reading the news they care about, including a “Read Now” section which points you to the articles and editions from publications and feeds you currently subscribe to; “My Library,” which is a list of your Newsstand subscriptions; and “Topics,” a way to subscribe to areas of interest.


2013. LinkedIn acquired Pulse. Wants to become the primary source of business news


News-reading has become the hot topic after Google's announcement about the death of Google Reader, and it's likely that in the coming months we'll hear a lot of loud news from this market. The first has come from the business-oriented social network LinkedIn that is buying (for $90 million) the mobile news reader Pulse. If you don't know how Pulse works - watch the video. When you first start it - it asks to choose your topics of interest, and then immediately shows you the top news on these topics from the most popular sources. Then you can configure your own news pages and add the sites you want to track. The feed selection is not so flexible as in RSS-reader, but you'll get more pictures and have to think less. Pulse generally takes the news from the same RSS feeds, which it finds on the sites. Pulse alternative news apps are Flipboard, Instapaper and Google Currents. And of course, the question is - why LinkedIn needs it? LinkedIn's target audience - is businessmen and executives. And LinkedIn knows that these guys - are perhaps the most active news readers. On the other hand, they (or rather their companies) are the main sources of business news. So LinkedIn wants to be in the middle of this looped circle of news distribution and consuming.