Microsoft News Pro: good idea, bad implementation
Microsoft Garage's newest application for Android, News Pro, For You, In Depth, is a port of the iOS application that is designed to deliver news "around your work and life every day" according to the application's description on Google Play.
The main idea behind the app is to provide you with personalized news -- a trending topic currently in tech as companies like Opera, Google or Mozilla are pushing these into their products -- similar to how RSS works but without having to worry about technicalities.
The app launches a highlights section on start which covers mostly US-based news. You can scroll down to browse various sections such as politics, sports, tech and so on on that screen.
Microsoft News Pro
The personalization comes into play when you use search. You may search for anything but there is no guarantee that results will come up. The news sources areÂ -- once again -- fairly limited which means that yours truly site is not included, and so are not many other sites that are not mainstream enough to be included apparently.
If results are displayed, you may browse them and open any article you find interesting. You may also hit the plus icon at the top to add this to your feed.
The idea here is obviously to give you options at hand to personalize the news feed. While the idea is great in theory, the implementation in the app is not.
The main reason for that is that you cannot remove the default topics you are already subscribed to. If you are not interested in the presidential election or NFL, too bad, you have to scroll past it to get to the news that are of interest to you.
So, it would be much better if you could disable the default topics you are subscribed to as they are not of interest to anyone.
The second issue that you may have with the app is that there is no option to switch from highlights to a category or topic you are interested in. Since all topics you subscribe to are listed at the bottom of the feed, it means that you will end up scrolling down quite a bit for news updates.
Thirdly, there is no option to manage your subscriptions. If you want to unsubscribe from one of the topics you subscribe to earlier, you need to search for it again to uncheck the "add" button on the search results page.
Articles that you open load directly in the application. News Pro supports a "speedy view" mode that improves readability by focusing on the article and doing away with other page elements that may be displayed on the screen.
That's about it though in terms of features that you get other than options to share news with others using various means.
News Pro tries to revolutionize news personalization but falls short of that goal. The news selection is quite US-centric currently -- no language is supported but English -- and it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of personalization and management.
Thanks for summarizing News Pro, Martin. You are absolutely correct. It is a very good idea which has been under developed and poorly implemented.
It looks like Microsoft’s “Chief Envisioning Officer” Dave Coplin has signed off on another turkey.
NB did you spot that the first letters of Coplin’s title give the acronym CEO. Delusions of grandeur ?
I gave up on these prescribed news apps. I’d rather not have specific stories filtered out in order to have the feed content better suit the curators’ agenda.