In a world packed with more news aggregation services and RSS readers than we could ever need, only a few manage to rise to the top. News360 is an example of one such service, and we have mentioned it several times here on BGR. The app is available across multiple platforms including iOS, Android, QNX and Windows Phone, and has become a very popular option thanks to its beautiful UI and its unique approach to news delivery. Historically, the app has provided users with news collected from more than 5,000 sources across a variety of categories, weeding through them and presenting each story from a single source. Readers looking to delve deeper into a story can then browse through a list of other publications that have covered it, and then read the stories as they choose. Now, News360 does all that and more, as the just-released News360 2.0 adds personalization services as well as a Web app, opening the service up to anyone with a PC and an Internet connection. What’s more, the service can now analyze your activity across social networks to create an interest graph and custom tailor news for each individual user. “We don’t just look at your ‘Likes’, we look at a wide swath of actions: bookmarks, subscriptions, and the items you share to gain an understanding of what you like to read,” News 360 CEO Roman Karachinsky said in a statement. ”This process is completely transparent: we’ll show you what your interest graph looks like and let you edit it to refine your experience even further.” These new features are now available for the iPad and Honeycomb versions of the app, as well as the new Web app. News360′s full press release follows below. More →
Amazon launched its new Kindle Cloud Reader service on Wednesday that provides users with access their Kindle library using Chrome or Safari on Mac, PC, Linux and the Chromebook. Kindle Cloud Reader is also optimized for the iPad and offers a caching feature for offline reading. To get started, simply navigate to http://read.amazon.com and install the small required plug-in. We gave the service a quick run this morning and were impressed by how fast it loaded our eBook library. We definitely still prefer the standalone app on the iPad, but we’re sure Amazon created this option as a loophole to get around Apple’s iTunes App Store rules. Don’t use Safari or Chrome? Amazon still has you covered with its Kindle for PC client. Read on for the full press release. More →
Twitter on Wednesday took the wraps off a redesigned version of its mobile website that has already begun rolling out to select users. The new design, most agree, represents a marked improvement over the inefficient, cartoony mobile site design found on the company’s current mobile web app. Twitter’s mobile web redesign looks much more like its native iPhone app, which makes sense considering the company’s recent promise to create a more unified experience across platforms. We still far prefer native apps, of course, as web apps currently don’t have the same access to the plethora of APIs on various platforms that allow developers to build fluid, comprehensive apps. The new mobile site design is already being rolled out to “a small percentage” of Twitter users with Android phones, iPhones and iPod touch devices. Twitter says is will continue rolling out the new site to more users fitting that criteria in the coming weeks. More →
Apple finally approved (or accepted) Google’s official Google Voice app for the iPhone just minutes ago, and while 3rd party versions of the software were allowed back in a couple months ago, sometimes there isn’t anything like the official version. We messed around with the app and here are some of our initial thoughts:
- We love how straight forward the app is to use. You’d think this would be the case for any application, but Google really nails the usability angle here.
- Dialing a number quickly and efficiently is the most important part of a phone calling app, and since you have to manually switch to another app and not the iPhone phone app, you don’t want to waste more time by jumping around tabs, and different screen views. On here, hit the dialer tab, and you’re ready to dial. Also of note: Google Voice for iPhone makes use of outbound dialing, so you never have to wait for an incoming call to ring your phone, you just “dial out”.
- One major issue with Google Voice’s web apps and iPhone-optimized website, was that the experience was kind of lousy. You’d want to dial or shoot a quick text message off but couldn’t due to the fact the entire UI was in Safari, thus it scrolled around, sometimes would be a little delayed, etc. The app provides very quick access to SMS creation and sending, especially for conversations not yet started. This is important here, because the faster these tasks get, the more people will use Google Voice and centralize their calling/texting habits and behaviors.
- The inbox view is great — you have all your voicemails, incoming calls, missed calls, text messages and recorded calls in one neat, and super clean-looking list. You can also manually view just a specific category like voicemails or text message if you’d like, however.
- Push notifications on here are lightning fast, and are so, so necessary.
All in all, this is close enough to an integrated experience like Android offers to make iPhone-using Google Voice users extremely happy. Now if they could only work on their voicemail transcriptions… Check out our hands on photos in the gallery!
We don’t cover many web apps here on BGR but every now and then we come across something we think a large number of our readers would really enjoy. This just so happens to be one of those times. We discovered this service last week and we have to say, we were impressed from the start. In a sentence, Soshiku is a management tool that allows users to schedule assignments, outline tasks, manage courses and collaborate on group assignments online – for free. Ahh, we love that last word and if you’re a student so do you. The Soshiku site is simple and well organized; within 10 minutes of signing up you’ll already have your courses entered and assignments lined up. The service even includes free configurable email and SMS notifications to communicate impending deadlines or tasks. Beyond that, Shosiku adds an extra layer of accessibility by allowing users to add new courses or assignments via email or SMS. In our testing, we really couldn’t think of anything the site creator didn’t cover – and did we mention he’s a 17-year-old student himself? We might not go as far as to say Soshiku makes schoolwork fun, but it will definitely keep you more organized than you’ve ever been before. Organization leads to increased efficiency and increased efficiency leads to more time to par… Well, more time to do whatever it is you enjoy doing.