My newspaper of choice, the Guardian, has for some time produced its own android (and iOS of course) app. I have often used the android app on my tablet to catch up on emerging news items at the end of the day. I also read the BBC news app for the same reason. Yesterday I received an update to the Guardian app. That update was a complete rewrite and gives the user a very different experience to the original app. For example, in the old app I could tailor the home screen to show me just the news categories I wanted (i.e. no sport, no fashion, but plenty of politics, business and UK news). In the new app I can only do that if I subscribe to a paid version. Sorrry, but no, I already pay for the newspaper, I just want this to give me updated headlines, I don’t want to have to buy the newspaper all over again.
In today’s paper (and on-line of course) there is an editorial comment on the new app explaining its background. The writer opens:
Today I am proud to announce the launch of our redesigned Guardian app. It’s been a ground-up reworking to bring you a new, advanced and beautiful Guardian app. For the first time you will have a seamless experience across phones and tablets, with a cleaner, responsive design that showcases the Guardian’s award-winning journalism to our readers around the world.
The article goes on to explain the history of the original app and the thinking behind the redesign. It continues:
We’re also thrilled to announce that GuardianWitness – the Guardian’s award-winning platform through which readers can contribute their own pictures, videos and text – is now integrated into the app, meaning readers can now contribute to assignments seamlessly and directly within the main app.
Other new features include:
- A new flexible layout so we can display different stories in different ways, and show readers which stories are the most important in one glance
- Breaking news and sport alerts and up-to-the-minute live coverage
- Increased personalisation: readers can personalise their home screen depending on what topics they’re most interested in, and create notifications to follow favourite writers, stories, series and football teams
- Improved photo galleries and inclusion of interactives for the first time
- Off-line reading – with intelligent caching readers will now be able to save articles to read later and have more content at their fingertips wherever they are
- Open journalism has been built into the app, with even easier ways for readers to contribute comments, videos, photos via our new GuardianWitness integration, as well as a better commenting experience
- New opportunities for advertisers.
I particularly like that last bit.
And of course the app needs access to my location.
(P.S. The app called “UK Newspapers” by Markus Reitberger gives access to all the UK news sites you could want – and all it asks for is network access.)