It’s been a while since we last caught up with the folks at News360, the “news discovery and analysis platform” that works not only to help surface interesting news stories, but also help you understand the background to them. It even taps your personal social data to matchmake you with the right stories.
Today sees the launch of its first proper Web app in ‘restricted’ private beta – the previously available version served more as an aggregator, while this launch sees the Web incarnation brought into touch with the broader News360 service. So we’re talking personalization.
If you want access today, we can get you in the back door as of now, more information on that at the bottom.
How it works
To aid the personalization process, you’re best signing in with Twitter, Facebook or Google+, though you can opt to log-in just with your email.
Once in, select the topics that interest you most – technology, space, business, politic and so on. If you don’t select anything and head straight to your news, it will automatically choose all of them, but you can go back in and deselect ones you don’t want.
Here is what the screen looks like when I opted to sign-in with email only.
And when I connect it with Twitter, the top-line topics become more aligned with my activity on the social network – so it’s no longer ‘Technology’ and ‘Business’, but more granular such as ‘Web Browsers’, ‘Gadgets’ and, erm, ‘Urbanism’.
You can also add topics manually.
Your main news page should then be awash with stories that interest you. Plus, it also promises to surface the best version of a story based on key signals, such as the author, tone of voice, sentiment, and level of detail.
However, the whole point of News360 is that you teach it over time what you like and don’t like. So, much in the same way as you’d give a song on Spotify Radio the ‘thumbs up’ to hear more of the same in future, you give News360 the thumb treatment too and it should learn accordingly.
You can also share stories across the social sphere, or save them to your favorites. And with the Web app, you can choose to mute specific sources – so if you love sport but hate ESPN, you can block that forever.
Over and above all this, however, News360 also analyzes organic reading behavior, such as how long you’ve spent on an article. So over time, this should get very good indeed.
If you’re already a News360 user, the introduction of a Web app means all your activity can be synced from your main desktop browser to your smartphone.
Though News360 is more of a personalized news finder, there are elements of it that are similar to services such as Pocket – you can save articles to read later, for example. But there are many instances where I may be reading a story outside of News360 and wish to save it for later, so it would be nice to see a bookmarklet introduced that lets you add stories directly to your account from any site.
For now, News360 indexes 100,000 sources, covering 250,000 articles a day, so it is pretty extensive. And it’s a great addition to the platform’s existing armory of apps.
The all-new News360 Web app is available in restricted beta now, but if you use the following promo code, this should let 1,000 TNW readers sidestep the wait: C7EED3. Click ‘Create an Account’ at the top, and follow the instructions.
News360 for the Web will be going live for one and all in mid-September.
➤ News360 [Beta]