Society | DOI: 10.1145/2800445 Logan Kugler
How apps like Inkl and SmartNews are overcoming the challenges
of aggregation to win over content publishers and users alike.
million articles every day. SmartNews
has won numerous “App of The Year”
and “Best News App” awards. Accord-
ing to CNET, “SmartNews is an excel-
lent free alternative to other popular
Co-founder and co-CEO Ken Suzuki
developed SmartNews to try to entice
Tokyo’s millions of subway commuters
away from playing mindless games on
their smartphones into reading news
stories. Suzuki believes SmartNews’
rivals are not “other news apps,” but
“mobile games, social media, and the
top apps people use on their smart-
phones every day. We are competing for
the overall attention of the user.” The
beta international edition (ultimately
covering more than 150 countries and
a growing number of local cities) was
launched earlier this year.
Despite the decline of newspapers
in recent years, Pew Research Center data ( http://pewrsr.ch/1OrUDlA)
NEWS AGGREGATORS ARE services that pull together online con- tent in one place for ease of viewing on mobile devices. Until recently, the market for
news aggregator apps has been dominated by Google, with its Google News &
Weather ( http://bit.ly/1za0Ycd) for personalized news and weather content,
and Google Play Newsstand (http://
bit.ly/1IFTeav) for personalized curated
content and topic-based collections of
articles. Yahoo News Digest (
https://mo-bile.yahoo.com/newsdigest/) has also
been popular, as has Apple Newstand
( http://apple.co/1TM43uC), which is being revamped into Apple News .
Other notable players include:
˲ Breaking News ( http://www.break-ingnews.com/)—Personalized breaking news stories.
˲ BuzzFeed ( www.buzzfeed.com/)—
Social content for sharing.
˲ Facebook Paper (https://www.
iPhone app that assembles news and
˲ Flipboard (https://about.flipboard.
com/)—A popular app with user-curat-ed magazines, and 34,000 topics that
can be followed.
˲ Nuzzel ( http://nuzzel.com/)—
Provides stories popular with users’
friends on Twitter and Facebook.
˲ Vox Media ( www.voxmedia.com)
—Available via seven brands/channels:
News ( Vox.com), Technology and Lifestyle (The Verge), Sports (SB Nation),
Gaming (Polygon), Food and Nightlife (Eater), Fashion and Shopping
(Racked), and Real Estate and Architecture (Curbed), and many more.
Mobile news also is available via RSS
feed services like Feedly, Digg, Latest
News & Radion, and GReader.
There also are a number of new players in this arena.
Inkl ( www.inkl.com) is an Aus-
tralian startup, a subscription news
service that curates high-quality con-
tent from major news outlets using
story rankings by the publishers and
editors themselves; it achieves a 30%
open rate with its daily news email.
CEO Gautam Mishra compares Inkl
to popular streaming digital media
platforms like Netflix, and describes
it as the “Spotify of news.” Inkl is not
yet available in the U.S., but that could
change later this year. A tiered fee
structure is planned, with a monthly
unlimited-access subscription, a pre-paid pay-per-article model, and a free
version carrying ads.
SmartNews ( www.smartnews.com)
describes itself as an “addictively simple news app.” This free download is
ranked No. 1 in both Google Play and
Apple’s App Store. Downloads have
exceeded 10 million, with more than
1 million active users in the U.S. alone,
and it now evaluates more than 10
CEO Gautam Mishra describes news app Inkl as the “Spotify of news.”