There’s a new app from Tribune Digital Ventures. It’s called Newsbeat.
You open the app and it gives you a personalised audio newscast.
It starts with weather and traffic conditions, and then dives into news stories written by newspapers and news sites from Mashable to CNN to the Baltimore Sun.
Call it Pandora for news.
Most of the stories are read to you in a computer voice that sounds like Siri or the navigation system in your car. Some stories are read to you by human voices.
You can skip through news stories you don’t like by tapping an arrow on your smartphone screen, or by swiping through the stories the way you’d swipe through photos.
You can personalise the app by going into the settings and telling it where your house is and where your office is, for better traffic reporting, and by selecting the types of stories you like to hear and the publications you like to hear them from.
It’s easy to understand why Tribune would launch an app like this. There are at least 120 million radio listeners in the U.S., says Seth. Clear Channel, the radio station company, has a $US600 million market cap. There’s a business in disrupting that.
I tried the app this morning. I like it enough that I’ll keep using it at least for another week. Maybe it will become a daily habit.
Here are some early likes and dislikes.
In the 40 or so stories Newsbeat dug up for me, there were a few that were almost a day old. With so many sources, the news should be much fresher than that.
The app is pretty, but there’s something a bit off about using the settings. You’ll have selected a bunch of topics you want to hear more about, hit the save button, then not be sure if everything was saved properly.
The app has as ads and they are unskippable. This is probably a business necessity, but it’s not great for users.