Pulse: Read the News in Style

If you are hungry for knowledge, there has never been an era like this one to quench your thirst for information.

From the obvious to the obscure, the sheer volume of information available online is just mind blowing. Thanks to the concepts of longtail and cheap distribution, every topic under the sun is comprehensively covered.

But, is it easy to discover, read, and assimilate all of this information?

Yes and no. Social media has made discovery extremely simple, but the problem of reading news sources from a social media client can be cumbersome. That’s where apps like Pulse jump in to fill the void.

Overview

I discovered Pulse a few months ago and have been using it on and off on my iPhone. It’s a great way to read and discover news, and news sources, but the tiny screen of an iPhone was limiting the overall experience for me. So, as soon as I got hold of my iPad 2, I installed Pulse and immediately realised that the iPhone app isn’t doing any justice to the original idea.

Launch Screen

Launch Screen

The large touchscreen real estate makes using Pulse on the iPad undeniably awesome. The amount of work the developers have put in to make Pulse your go-to news reader shows right from the launch screen.

The launch screen does a neat job of explaining the major control elements of the app in addition to listing the categories available for you to read news from.

Getting Started

You will have to choose from the list of categories to start using the app. Almost all topics and categories that might interest persons from every walk of life and profession are available, all you have to do is to swipe across the screen to access the entire list.

The sad thing, however, is that the app restricts the maximum number of categories you can choose from to just three. I know, it’s a bit annoying but let’s see if that can be changed after setting up for first use.

Take a minute to savour the fine cartoons that accompany each category, and the intuitive, and ad free, user interface .

Accessing News Sources

News Sources

News Sources

While the categories are limited to just three, the sources aren’t. News from leading blogs and information outlets in each category is available at your disposal. You can access various news sources by vertical scrolling, and individual news items from the sources by swiping horizontally.

Keep an eye on the Pulse icon at the top of the screen to see the progress of the download.

Reading News

You can catch up with news in two ways. First you can see news items that are making headlines from the Top News section. From here, top news from all three categories can be accessed.

Text View

Text View

Head over to the individual categories by tapping on the appropriately labelled tabs. When you find an article of interest, tap on it to read the entire content. As soon as you tap on an item, the article will be displayed in text format with the custom design elements of the source stripped. Only images associated with the article are displayed alongside the content – it’s a beautifully streamlined experience!

Web View

Web View

However, if you’re a fan of web view, toggle the read mode at the top right corner of the screen.

Once you add your Twitter and Facebook accounts, you can share the articles instantaneously without leaving the app. Absence of a full screen view to read the article is another sticking point. But, you can open the link in Safari in a single click to read it in its full glory.

Adding Sources

Adding Sources

Adding Sources

As I mentioned earlier, Pulse comes with a laundry list of blogs and online news outlets. To add a source, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and hit add. Choose from the comprehensive collection of sources and they will be added to the section from where you are initiating the process.

Featured Sources

Featured Sources

Alternatively, you can add sources by navigating to the Settings icon at the top left corner of the screen – the process is more or less similar. 

I checked again and there is no way to add more categories other than the three we created earlier. But, you can access all the news sources in each category and add them to existing categories. While this might lead to a mix up of genre, at least you won’t be missing a beat from your favorite online news sources.

Feeds from Google Reader

Feeds from Google Reader

For those of you with a Google Reader account full of feeds from cool news sources discovered over time, Pulse makes it extremely simple to import them all. Just enter the login credentials and start adding the sources you would like to touch and read!

Final Thoughts

For years now, I have been an ardent fan of Google Reader. It might not be anywhere near flashy when it comes to the user interface or ease of use, but the straight forward nature of the app keeps me going back. I miss the Google Reader-esque article archiving in Pulse. As soon as you refresh the news sources, the latest updates flood the screen and the old, unread items are nowhere to be found.

I read some blogs multiple times a day, some once a day, and some only during the weekend. The ability to archive news items for later reference is missing, but Pulse is more directly aimed at providing a more sleek and less time consuming way to browse the news. Pulse is a must have for those who just want to read news from a uber cool interface.


Summary

Pulse for the iPad is a great way to read and discover news, and news sources, from a sleek user interface.

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