Yahoo’s newest app entry is News Digest, a sort of reincarnation of Nick D’Aloisio’s Summly (which D’Aloisio sold to Yahoo last March for $30 million) mashed up with Yahoo’s current “Yahoo” app. Like Summly, News Digest’s content is generated algorithmically, with the final 8–10 stories the app delivers twice a day being curated both algorithmically and by actual editors. Each digest's "front page" hits you with a hot color-toned image followed by a list of headlines, color coded by category, covering everything from politics and world news to entertainment and sports. Tap on a headline to read one of News Digest's summarized stories, usually in about 2 to 3 paragraphs, which is then further embellished with what Yahoo call’s “atoms”:
Our Atoms assembled from around the web include articles, maps, infographics, Wikipedia extracts, videos, photos and more. Stories contain different atomic units which convey different dimensions of the story from the who, what, when, how, and why of a topic. link
News Digest’s bit-sized news stories are delivered in Yahoo’s slickest app yet featuring iOS 7 friendly edge swipes, a largely dark undertone, graphic and colorful “front pages”, and clear, concise story pages that are easy to read and navigate on the app’s only platform for now: the iPhone.
The question is: who is News Digest for? Ask Yahoo and it sounds like they’re actually doing you a favor when you use News Digest:
Remember waking up to the local morning news? Coming home to the evening news? Reading a newspaper from front to back page? These formats have been daily habits since the invention of the television and the printing press. We wanted Yahoo News Digest to revisit a content format that when read, led you to a sense of completion and conclusiveness, much like reading the newspaper did. link
As a heavy twitter user, Zite and Circa reader, and RSS subscriber, I do get the appeal of the “I finished this” strategy, and News Digest enhances it by giving you a virtual pat on the back when you’ve finished reading your twice a day news allotments. And yet for many, News Digest won't actually convince you that you’ve received a full dose of news. Was there just one world event at 6:00 pm? Did anything else happen in sports? And do I really care about what Dennis Rodman is doing in North Korea? But of course News Digest isn’t for newsies, and given that stories are written using “multi-document summarization”, it certainly isn’t for those who appreciate good journalism. And yet…I think I’ll keep using News Digest for now. Of course I’m going to keep using Zite and News Digest’s brother from another mother Circa, but the beautiful News Digest does give me a good base to build on, is perfect for sitting down with a quick cup of coffee or the ride on the subway, and yes Nick D’Aloisio, completing something does feel kind of good.
+ Recommended Yahoo News Digest by Yahoo is free and is available for the iPhone.