Microsoft has been releasing some great apps for iOS recently and their most recent one is a big hit, as far as I am concerned.
Microsoft’s new iOS app, “News Brief” does an amazing job of finding stories related to your job, skills, and interests. It cuts out the fluff and makes news reading easier.
It starts with an easy setup process. You can help the app out by signing in with LinkedIn or Facebook. I chose Facebook because I know that service has a much richer biography of my interests. It worked as expected. The app chose the buckets for “Star Trek” and “Microsoft” and immediately created magazines for these topics.
I clicked on the Me icon and added a few more interests, including “Information Technology” and a few related to Star Trek. When you search for new categories, you can see a list of organizations, skills, and products. It’s pretty slick, but more importantly, it works. I found about a dozen articles that interested me right away, which is far different from what happens with more generic apps I have tried. As usual, it’s all about the algorithms, and Microsoft, thanks to their Microsoft Garage dev team has hit the mark with this one.
The app is also speedy. With other readers, I have noticed there is sometimes a weird pause as the app fetches news or load images and text. With the News app, which is installed by default on an iPhone or iPad, it seems to take forever to scroll through the news feed as it reloads. News Pro lets you drag up and release to fetch new stories, placing one in a prime spot. Stories load quickly with a properly-sized thumbnail.
Speaking of speedy there is a mode in News Pro after you select an article to read called Speedy that removes some of the extra formatting and images.
News Pro reminds me of the Outlook app in that it makes every feature seem like it was designed for people who don’t have a ton of time to figure out weird settings and tabs and are not engineers. News Pro has an intuitive flow that puts the emphasis on finding stories and reading them. It puts the interface in the background where it belongs.
If you have an iPhone and want to check this out simply search for “News Brief” in the app store.