App Friday: Meet Newzly, the simple, minimalistic news-in-brief app from DailyHuntSohini Mitter
Newzly offers swipeable, mobile-friendly news summaries that can be read in “60 seconds or less”. The Android-only app has notched up more than 100,000 installs in a month.
As users’ attention spans decline, and with the rise of quick, mobile-friendly, easy-to-read content on the web, ‘news in brief’ has emerged as a hot new segment. There are today a few apps that either curate from other news sources, or generate their own bite-sized news pieces.
Sequoia Capital-backed DailyHunt is one such product that claims to be India’s largest news and local language content app, with over 155 million installs. It syndicates content from over 800 publications every day, and serves it up in 14 languages. DailyHunt uses unique Machine Learning and Deep Learning technologies for smart curation of content, and tracks user preferences to personalise the news.
While DailyHunt has been operational since 2015, last month, the Bengaluru-based startup launched a new app — Newzly, a news-in-brief app for Android users. It offers news summary in nine languages — English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali and Gujarati, and more will be added in coming months.
Newzly presents news in the form of mobile-friendly cards that one can swipe horizontally to move to the next. In order to read the full article, users have to swipe vertically. Users can also customise their news feeds based on their interest areas. Stories can be shared on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter from within the app.
Newzly’s card format is somewhat similar to that of NewsBytes, another homegrown short news app. But, unlike NewsBytes which offers “explanatory” pieces through short cards, Newzly is only about summaries that can be read in “60 seconds or less”.
Virendra Gupta, Founder and CEO, Dailyhunt, said at the launch,
“India has a large local language population with diverse needs and the launch of Newzly is part of our expansion of the product portfolio to serve those needs. Newzly app is designed to serve the needs of users who have less time on hand, and want to stay updated with the summary of major breaking and trending news.”
Newzly has recorded over 100,000 installs on Google Play Store in just a month. It has notched up a rating of 4.2, and most users hail it as a “quick” and “useful” app.
YourStory took a closer look at the app.
First up, Newzly loads pretty fast, even on a sluggish internet connection. Unlike inShorts, for instance, which displays a ‘loading’ screen on a slow network. The app takes you straight to the latest news summary which appears in the form of a vertical card.
You can swipe horizontally to move to the next card.
If you want to know more about a specific news item, swipe up vertically to read the source article. Users might experience a slight lag here, as the app’s in-built browser opens up the news page. But, this is quick on faster connections.
To change language, manage notifications, bookmarks and settings, you have to tap on the top-left corner.
You can select your preferred language of news consumption by clicking on ‘Change Language’ on the top-left drop-down menu. At a time, you can choose only one out of the nine languages on offer. Newzly is yet to enable multiple-language browsing.
A Hindi news card looks like this.
If you’re short on time and can browse only one category of news, click on ‘Browse Topics’ and make a selection. Newzly currently offers summaries across eight topics — India, World, Entertainment, Technology, Business, Sports, Lifestyle and Automobiles.
By clicking on the top-right drop-down menu, you can set your preferred ‘interests’. It helps Newzly to throw up better, personalised results.
If you need a demo of the app, or wish to leave a feedback for the developers, select ‘Help’ on the top-left drop-down menu.
What works for it
It helps is that Newzly is clutter-free, ad-free, uncomplicated and minimalistic. It is tailored for the busy consumer class that has no time to ‘skip ads’ or read through not-so-important stuff.
What distinguishes Newzly from others like inShorts, NewBytes, and others is its regional language offering. On the Indian web, local language content consumption far outnumbers that in English. Hence, Newzly is able to tap into a vast reader segment that had no access to short news apps prior to this.
How it can improve
The lack of a multiple language selection option is a sore miss. Newzly could very well add that in the time to come, but for now, users have to keep going back to ‘select language’ if they wish to browse stories in more than one language.
This is not only time-consuming, but also deprives users of the delight of having everything they want at one go.
Unlike inShorts, Newzly doesn’t allow video-playing in stories. A sports news summary, for instance, could be accentuated with a brief news clip either pulled from YouTube or from the original news source.
The app can add more categories and topics to attract a wider reader base. More languages too will help make it a truly mass news app.
Newzly vis-a-vis competition
The short news space has five to six players jostling for eyeballs. inShorts, of course, is the most popular app, and has notched up a wide network of advertisers. inShorts is also available in Hindi.
NewsBytes offers original content (that differentiates it from the rest) packaged for the mobile reader.
Newzly-parent DailyHunt is popular among non-English readers, and scores with its regional language offering. Way2News is another app that provides local language content, but in three languages only.
There are some others like Murmur (a content discovery app targeted at millennials) and TenReads (which curates the ten best stories of the day).
With the smartphone population tilting towards quick, shareable content, this space is poised to grow exponentially in the time to come.