Initially, I was extremely sceptical of Facebook’s new app Notify.
It’s an interesting idea for staying on top of the news: Instead of checking an app incessantly for the latest headlines, you subscribe to specific “stations” from publications that send you notification alerts throughout the day.
The idea of more unread notifications on my iPhone’s lock screen made me uneasy at first, but after using Notify for the past few days, I’ve found that it works surprisingly well as a helpful way to keep up to date with what’s going on in the world.
What’s great about Notify is that it’s entirely customisable.
After you download the free app, you’re not going to get a fire hose of alerts sent to your phone all day. The frequency of alerts depends entirely on you. Setup, in which I subscribed to roughly a dozen media outlets I follow, took me about five minutes.
There’s a bit of everything in Notify. If you’re a hardcore news junkie like I am, you can subscribe to stations like Breaking News and Techmeme. If you’re more into entertainment news, there are plenty of options to choose from, like the latest celeb gossip from People.
Facebook isn’t just offering traditional news outlets, such as The New York Times and CNN (there are over 70 to choose from), through Notify. It has a station for The Weather Channel, which will automatically fill in your zip code (a nice touch) and send you the forecast every day.
There’s also stations for new music videos on Vevo, the hottest TV clips from Hulu, a daily meditation guide from Headspace, airline flight deals from Condé Nast Traveller, new movie showtime alerts from Fandango, and more.
It’s all of these optional, non-news stations that make Notify more than a glorified RSS reader. For articles you get notified about, you can choose to save them to read later directly from the notification itself. The Notify app has a separate tab for bookmarked articles to come back to you, which is great for when you have time to catch up on what you’ve missed.
Notify was especially helpful to me this weekend as news surrounding the tragedy in Paris unfolded. I was moving into a new apartment, and I was able to glance at my iPhone’s lock screen throughout the day to see the latest updates on the situation.
I don’t see everyone wanting something like Notify, but if you’ve been looking for an app to help you stay up to date with the news, it’s definitely worth checking out.
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