Version Reviewed: 1.4
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There are 3264 applications currently active in the ‘News’ category of the App Store, according to our sister site 148Biz. Given the popularity of the iPhone among both consumer and business clientele, this should come as no surprise. We haven’t even mentioned Apple’s Push Notification Service that can bring the news to you, rather than you going to it. So when I came across a developer working on Broadersheet, a news service application that aims to become “intelligent” to your needs, I became very curious. Was my curiosity justified? Has Broadersheet delved into a new level of delivering news? Let’s find out.
Broadersheet seeks to bring you all the news you’ll need to read, from the sources you trust. It uses a rather complex service (that shall be read only by those suffering insomnia) called semantic tagging that learns what you love and what you hate.
When you open the application for the first time, you’re greeted with an extensive list of news services that you choose whether you love, hate or are impartial to. The same goes for news topics. Once these are configured, the news is there and ready to read like you would any other application. It’s a “really really simple syndication” - meaning Broadersheet has taken RSS feeds one step further, to weening down the articles to what it knows you should like. And only that.
After this initial customization phase, it’s all down to the articles you read. After you read an article - it’s as simple as choosing to love it, hate it or remain impartial (just like the initial setup). The developer said that it can learn what you love within as little as 12 articles. To take full advantage of semantic tagging, it’s best that you do this with every article that you read. Swipe right to love, left to trash.
Visually, the interface is clean and clutter-free. Given the limited size of the iPhone’s screen, size is everything and Broadersheet has worked well to make full use of the screen. News can be sorted by date added, source or topic. One notable feature is that whenever you load an article it will load the original page will come up, and with one tap you can remove all pictures, ads and irrelevant messages. Broadersheet call it “optimized article content” - we call it cool. You’re left with just the article. News as it should be:
To ensure maximum consumer utility, custom topics can be added. The application can be tailored to your needs, rather than the needs of the mass public. “148Apps” will attract articles for 148Apps, “White House” from a wide variety of sources.
That’s really all there is to it. The most important question - does it work? - has a different answer for every person. This isn’t an application that you can install and it’ll immediately give you everything you like, nothing you dislike, and recommendations for news. It takes time to understand it has to learn your loves and hates in order give you what you want. It won’t always get it right, but it won’t always get it wrong either. Whether we like it or not, Broadersheet has stepped on what is quite possibly the future of news deliverance. It’s time to get ahead of the game and give it a shot.