Mobiles Republic has pushed a major release of their top app News Republic out the door, and it comes with a new smart recommendations feature that should help you address the information overload by learning about your interests. Obviously this is not something new among news readers, but News Republic has its spin on an otherwise tough challenge: how do you recommend news item, without progressively narrowing down the user’s choice?
When learning about the preferences of the user, it can happen that an app will focus too much on what the user has read in the past. While it may be true for TV Shows, news don’t work like that at all and users typically want to have a global view on news unless they decide to follow a specific topic. The News Republic app offers both by using a distinctive icon (the circle at the upper-right in the photo above) to show how interesting a particular article would be to the user.
The app still features a lot of news, but now users can easily scroll down and the icon is an extra clue that may pick their interest. It’s smart because yesterday’s interesting topic may no longer be relevant today, so it’s important to not cull potentially relevant news of the moment.
We really like the concept because some of the pleasure in checking news is the browsing, not only the reading – and News Republic lets us do that, while at the same time providing a little nudge that may tip things over for potential matches.
The recommendation engine relies on the ability for Mobiles Republic’s back-end to analyze articles, extract topics/tags, and keep track of which articles you showed an interest for. A lot of companies are trying to develop this and we have not used this version of the app long enough to form a definitive opinion, but it looks pretty good so far. News Republic 4.0 is a solid upgrade to an already successful news app which is available today on Android and iOS.
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