Version Reviewed: 1.1
iPhone Integration Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
Blancspot is an interesting app for the computer era. By interesting, I mean that it is taking what we like the most in our news reading and turning it on its head. It could just be me (I doubt it), but I like to see all of my news at once. The more I can cram onto one page the better, because I want to scan quickly to find what interests me. I feel like there is a reason that CNN.com only has a few big pictures and then lists of the news. It's for quick absorption of what you like, and an easy pass on what you don't. If you are going to go to either extreme sides of the news spectrum, I would much rather read Drudge Report, which looks like a bunch of news regurgitated on a screen, than... well, Blancspot.
The word of the day, every day, for Blancspot is "pictures." In their world, it really doesn't matter what interests you, if the picture is nice enough, you'll read. Everything is presented in a slide show format, showing you a large screen sized picture with a tiny blurb, and then it's on to the next one. Since this is not an RSS reader, and there is no way to really pick and choose what your favorite topics are, you are stuck watching a slide show of what they think is important.
For example, the first thing I clicked on was sports. The NFL season is starting soon (tomorrow at the time of writing) and I wanted to see what news the Blancspot team would have on it. Slide 1, Golf, slide 2, Soccer, slide 3, Golf, slide 4, College Football (close!), slide 5, Baseball, slide 6, Rugby, slide 7, Football... finally! Honestly, why would I ever go to Blancspot for sports news when I could just go to ESPN and see it all on one page? Heck, if I just want football news, I can click on the football tab.
So the sports section wasn't for me, so I figured that I would just read the headlines. Iran, Golf, Indonesian volcano, Oscar Buzz at Telluride, Suicides in Japan, Political Deadlock in Iraq, Soccer. Ugh, I know that there are interesting headlines, I just read them on some of my other websites. It's not like I mind letting someone else tell me what's important, I just don't want to have to flip through a slow paced slide show to find out.
Once I got to an article that I found interesting though, the Blancpot writing was good, albeit brief. The articles are more like teasers for other websites, and there are links provided so you can see what the real news is, but I guess I don't mind that so much. For example, in an article titled Culture - SNL Cast Shake-Ups, Blancspot hints at four new cast members arriving - it just doesn't tell you who they are, or anything about them. You have to click on a link to a TV Squad article to find out.
A good thing about Blancpot is its integration with social media. After choosing a story, you can view the ongoing Twitter conversation about it, and even join in if you have something to say. Much of the Twitter is just spam, and a bunch of it is in languages that I can't read, but it's the idea that counts. (Note: Because of the recent API change to Twitter, most users, including myself can't link in with their Twitter account. The Blancspot team, according to the iTunes page, is fixing this as we speak, so I won't hold this against them.)
While its fans are going to laud that Blancspot is pretty and totally "reinvents the news", I say that we are too fast for the app. If I wanted slow slide shows of the news with only half the information, I could just turn on my local NBC News affiliate. I choose the web for speed.