News360: News From All Points of View

The iPad is great for consuming content and I use mine to consume a lot of news. There are several apps that I use to consume content depending on the type of news. RSS resides in Mr. Reader. I also use Flipboard and Pulp for different types of news and feeds. However, I still had trouble finding sources for news and world events. Yes, I could enter several news sources into Flipboard or Pulp but those did not satisfy my need to examine a lot of news from different sources quickly.

News 360 is a news aggregator that brings a lot of news to your iPad. The app does not only just bring you news but brings in the same stories from different sources so a complete view is presented. The app analyzes your current news sources from Twitter, Facebook, Evernote, and Google Reader and allows you to share stories across the social web. If you are looking for a way to consume a lot of news from several different sources then News 360 could be for you.


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Aggregator

News360 could be a total replacement news app because when first using the app you have the option to upload Google Reader, Facebook, Twitter, and Evernote content for the service to analyze and show recommended sources. Personally, I wanted to use News360 as a top stories and world news app but the functionality seems to be solid. I allowed it to analyze my accounts to see how well it worked. It pulled in a lot of technology categories which seems to be a decent fit of the items I share and that are currently residing my Google Reader account.

The main function of News360 is to bring relevant news to you. The News360 service will first understand what trends are happening in the world. The service uses a ranking algorithm to determine what stories are important. The service also tailors items that you have ranked as important categories. By connecting through services you already use, the service will analyze the shared and subscribed items to see what you are most interested in.

After you have tailored news categories and items that are ranking as important, the app shows you multiple sources of information. The end result is a trending news story in line with existing categories that is reported by multiple sources.

Design

Once everything is set up and you are able to browse the news you will notice the news categories are listed out in the left hand column and the stories are presented in a scrolling list on the right. A title of each story is presented with a photo. Docked on the right side of the article block is a list of sources that wrote about the same news story.

Main View in News360

News categories are listed on the left side while news stories are presented in scrolling blocks.

Opening a story presents a preview of the article. Images and videos relating to the story reside across the top. Videos play right in the timeline and load quickly. Under the images and videos are references to other news sources who published about the same subject. If more than five sources wrote about the story then an extra button will be added displaying the number of other sources that wrote about the story. Pressing this button will open up a timeline view showing the time of publication of each article.

Using the timeline view is a great way to follow a news story’s development and see what sources were first to break the news.

Most articles will include a Reader button which strips out the text for easy reading. Whether this option is available or not seems to depend on the source. To view the entire article or web page you can press the Read More button or scroll down to reveal the actual article on a webpage.

Article View

Article previews include a scrollable list of images and videos from all sources.

The most unique aspect of the design of the app is the 360 degree view. Activate this view by pressing the 360 degree view next to the Stories button. The 360 degree view will scroll pictures across screen of news stories for the active category.

You can change the active category by pressing the category button next to the home button in the bottom right corner.

Clicking on an image will bring up a small pop up window which shows the title and source. If you decide to read the article just press the Read More button and it will open the story up for consumption. Changing the categories in the 360 degree view will drop out all the pictures while it loads the new images. It’s a nice touch.

360 Degree View

Images scroll across the screen in the 360 degree view.

Highlight and Learn

News360 includes a Highlight feature while reading an article which will highlight keywords in the article. These links are tappable and provide more information about the item. If a news story includes these hyperlinks it makes it incredibly easy to perform more research about a topic. After reading the synopsis of the topic, articles relating to the topic are loaded below. These articles included are the latest stories relating to the keyword highlighted. Researching a news story just become a lot easier.

More information about highlights

Clicking a highlight will open summary information about the keyword.

The Service

News360 can be everywhere you want it to be. The service has apps for iOS, Windows Phone 7, Android, Blackberry Playbook, and on the web. If you plan to use the service across devices then it will beneficial to sign in with the same account everywhere. The service will also sync your saved articles across devices and the web.

Using the same account to sign in everywhere will keep your categories and interest synced across devices and the web.

News360 also includes many ways to share items including Twitter, Facebook, and email but also includes Evernote, Instapaper, and Read It Later support.

Conclusion

News 360 is not the only news aggregator in the App Store. Just do a quick search and you will find yourself overwhelmed with apps. However, News360 sets itself apart with a unique 360 degree view and by combining news from multiple sources to provide the whole story. The app has been very stable during my testing and the recommendations delivered by the app are accurate.

Finding News360 was a delightful surprise. The app fills a specific void that I looked for in the App Store. The price for the app is great since it is free and I would be willing to pay for a future update. If you are looking for an all-in-one news app or a news aggregator then News360 is definitely worth a look.


Summary

News360 is a news aggregator that brings in trending topics based on your chosen categories. The news stories are shown from several different sources so the complete story is presented.

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