A while ago I was in London again for a few days, to see a test of the ongoing Rugby World Cup. While I was there I was obviously went to a few coffee places, restaurants and bars. One thing I noticed there, almost every business wanted me to download its app and – more often than not – also pay with it. Read More
Today, Twitter announced and implemented hearts, replacing the ‘favourite’ stars. While some obviously welcomed the change, others are completely against it. After all, people are creatures of habit and dislike change. Hence, the heart-shaped star wars raged on Twitter and other social media platforms. Just have a look at the trending section with the hashtag #heartgate. Read More
During my lunch break today I received a notification about a friend that had been marked as safe following the 8.3 magnitude earthquake in Chile. At first I was a bit confused, as I had never seen such a notification before. Maybe I’ve missed it, as the feature apparently rolled out earlier and was already in use in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake in April.
This Safety Check feature of Facebook kept me thinking for a bit. Actually, I am still not quite sure how it works. Apparently, the Social Media platform from Menlo Park, CA, will ask people in the area if they were affected and are safe. Also, it seems friends of that person can also ask and mark somebody safe.
When you want your content, your news, your articles, to be shared, you should not build walls but bridges instead. It is crucial to link print and digital – for the consumer and the business.
I try to stay informed most of the time, which is why I read quite a few articles per day. And since I am – as a lot of people are – working a lot on my computer, I quite enjoy reading actual, printed newspapers, magazines, and books. Haptic, ftw.
Share the Things you Love
Every now and then I find some articles that I love. I mean, otherwise I probably would have stopped caring a long time ago. But because I find some articles inspiring, interesting or insightful, I actually want to share it with people, friends and family. Whether it is via direct messages like Messengers or Email (dark social), or through common social media channels.
The problem is, more often than not, there is no direct link to share an article you like. Who needs that? Who actually shares insightful reports, stories or current news? You could give it to your friend in person. Or just tell them how great it is, so they can buy the paper again (greedy capitalist waving).
The essential question is: Do you want your content to be shared? Read More
The idea of niu.ws is quite simple, delivering ‘hand-picked’ news to its subscribers. Hence, it is competing against other news apps like Cir.ca or Yahoo’s News Digest. Cir.ca is probably the closest competitor (or maybe the model), but compared to it, Niu.ws offers more specific and personal news (channels), not only general topics.
Also, for the busy and stressed, it provides a quick update of relevant news, without having to access different news sites or feed readers like feedly or digg reader.
Generally, I am impressed. The selection of channels is, thus far, relatively focused on the digital and business side, which I like, but that’s obviously something that will also alter through time, based on demand. There are quite some renowned people curating the content (e.g. @MartinWeigert or @MartinSteiger) and the articles shared are mostly superb. Though, I do not follow (did not subscribe) all of the curators on Niu.ws, so I might be biased to some extend.
Since a few days ago (an update), the curators can add a personal note below the articles’ headlines, which certainly adds value – one you would expect from handpicked news.
A rather annoying flaw at first, that seems to be fixed now, was that some articles duplicated the paragraphs, making it unpleasant to read.
Another negative factor is the automatically created sentence “Hey, I’m reading this interesting article on” when sharing an article. While this is not per se negative, an option to individualize it would be marvelous though. The firm acknowledged this already in a newsletter and promised to fix it soon.
During the first days and weeks, obviously, there were some bugs, letting the app crash occasionally. This also got better by now, so I do not want to elaborate any further.
No such thing here.
Features I Would Add
As you probably noticed, this post is in English, but the app is in German (The firm’s located in Switzerland). Hence, I would like a feed or articles in English (some are already). Probably, most people, at least the intended target group of Niu.ws, are bilingual. So a button/switch to choose and adjust the languages would be something. This would add another layer of complexity, but might be beneficial, if the app / the company continues to grow and wants to scale.
I would also like a ‘mark read’ option (like in feedly), either manually or preferably while scrolling. Thus far, at least for me, the only way to mark articles read is by actually clicking on them and reading them. Makes sense. That’s what the firm stands for. Quality news that you want to read. However, sometimes an article (still) is not interesting or you do not have time to read it at the moment, but also don’t want it to ‘show up’ later again. The news flood is rolling.
A nice app with some minor flaws, for all of you that want to try some alternatives in the news-flooded world, where every platform suddenly wants to become a publisher. It also antes up the quality, especially given the fact that most (tech) articles are rather buzz-centric than anything else.
One question still remains, in what way Niu.ws, or better Newscron, the company behind the app, wants to make money. I suspect, they already have plans, but it’s not certain yet.
Note: The Newscron AG also has another application called newscron, which groups and selects articles based on algorithms. The firm’s focus (according to their website) is however on the Niu.ws app.
Disclaimer: I am not associated with the company nor am I receiving any form of monetary benefits or payment of kind. This is my very own (subjective) opinion.