App Profile: SmartNews
by Nathan J. Lichtenstein | published Oct. 25th, 2014
The internet seems to be filled with a veritable plethora of news sites and sources, and trying to keep up and keep informed can be a daunting and exhausting task. Fortunately for today's information-overloaded reader, there is a nifty solution available: meet SmartNews. SmartNews can be best described as a modern day newspaper that is delivered to you three times a day. It aggregates content from major news sources and categorizes them into familiar sections such as Entertainment, Sports, U.S., World and Science. There is even a Social category where users can log in with their social media accounts and get an aggregated feed of that as well.
As a content aggregation tool, SmartNews picks articles to display based on an algorithm that "automatically curates must-read stories from across the Internet." At three customizable times per day SmartNews pushes new stories to users' devices. The end result is an elegant and relevant stream of current popular information spanning multiple genres of interest.
SmartNews' delivery model is fantastic, but I think they have some room to improve in terms of defining themselves as a service. Granted that the word 'news' is right in the app's title, I think they should focus purely on news from legitimate and respected news sources, not entertainment sites and social media feeds. Articles from The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times don't belong in the same space as BuzzFeed articles and Huffington Post countdown lists. Just because an article is popular doesn't mean it is news worthy. On the same note, I don't think a news app should be aggregating personal social media feeds. At times, it seems like SmartNews is trying to do too much. Fortunately, social feeds and novelty pieces are neatly tucked away into their own sections and don't tend to bother the reader unless they find their way into the Top section.
All said and done, SmartNews is a great service with a lot of potential. The SmartNews team needs to further pinpoint what they services they want to provide in order to continue growing and maturing as a service.
SmartNews is available for free on Android and iPhone.