Back in 2013, Yahoo gobbled up an ingenious news aggregation app Summly for $30 million. Summly was developed by a teen, and skyrocketed instantly, but as always is the case with small fish, big sharks want them for breakfast, so Summly was taken down after the acquisition. At the beginning of this year, Yahoo released an iOS News Digest app based on the technology of the late Summly. Android users had to wait up until now, but the wait is finally over because Yahoo just released its Yahoo News Digest on Google Play.
Let us take a closer look at what this beauty can do, and see if there is a depth behind the gorgeous looks. Basically, Yahoo adopts a very light, I would even say superficial, approach to news here. Instead of giving you a multitude of headlines to choose from, the app offers a very concise summary of the day’s most popular headlines. You get about 16 to 24 stories a day split in two portions. On the other hand, this could be the right app for someone who just wants to spend no more than 2.5 minutes on daily news, which is exactly how long average users spend within the app daily. According to Yahoo, about 40% of people who downloaded the app use it on a regular basis. Yahoo tries to persuade users that spending 2.5 minutes per day reading news is ok, but the question is why? People are lazy enough, and when news digest from a tech giant like Yahoo propagates reluctant attitude to reading and analyzing what is happening in the world, a thoughtful reader would question the stance, but that can as well be my paranoia.
Yahoo uses the Sumply algorithm of aggregating the popular headlines, and while the description says the app is smart enough to tell what interests you the most, it only gives you one or two stories in each category. Each story is nicely presented, with a short and informative overview, which basically squeezes the article’s essence in 2 sentences. The summaries are custom-written, so you can only get them from 8 am to 6 pm daily.
The visually gorgeous cards display the image contents of the articles, while the text size is adjustable for comfortable reading. You can save the stories to read them later, and if you want the app to display the most relevant stories, you will need to sign in to save your preferences.
It does a great job aggregating the most trending titles for the day, and in this regard it complements other readers like Google Currents, Newsstand and Flipboard. When you want the headlines – head over to Yahoo, when you want in-depth analysis and a lot of information – head to more thorough resources. Yahoo is great for when you simply want the ten biggest stories of the day, and an overview of the issues. The UI is neat and Sumly has been thoroughly modified and polished. The story overviews are excellent, while the news choice seems superb for an average user.
Nevertheless, you do not get to customize the digest to change the language, so even Spanish-speaking users feel left out. It would be great to have the option to customize news filters according to section and sources. Personally to me, the app that doesn’t allow you to view at least 10 news according to a category is plain useless, and while there are categories in the app, they don’t change much since there is only a limited number of articles per category. Readers won’t change their reading behavior for the sake of using this app, so my guess is Yahoo will add more content eventually.
The sharing option is kind of odd here. Usually, you can share a link to the article with your twitter and FB readers directly from the app, which is a must-have feature in times of a total social network sharing craze. The Yahoo share feature works in a different way – you can share the headline, but with a link to Google Play Store page with the Yahoo digest. I wonder if this could be a bug? Copy-paste does not seem to work in the app, either.
Time and time again, users admit the app is nicely done and beautiful, but for the moment, it is no more than a fine app complementing more thorough, feature-rich and in-depth rivals.
- Beautiful, slick UI
- Nicely done article overviews
- Added International and Canada news
- Added home screen widget
- No news in foreign languages
- A limited amount of articles, although this could be a plus for some
- You will need to use one more news app for in-depth news analysis and multiple points of view on the same issue
If you feel like Yahoo news digest is your cup of tea, go ahead and download it from Google Play for free.