Bit.ly’s Twitter curator and news aggregator News.me was supposed to have launched by the end of 2010, but it didn’t submit its iPad app for approval until about a month ago. Now, a new News.me website (which merely explains what the service is and how to get it) has gone up, complete with a "coming soon" sticker. All Things Digital thinks that this might be a signal that the app is almost ready for release.
The News.me app creates a stream of stories that it thinks its user will find most interesting, curated from links in the user’s own Twitter feeds and other Twitter accounts that they select. News.me will choose the links based on popularity and what users have read or shared in the past. Because News.me relies on bit.ly data, links using that format will have preference. The linked stories will be displayed ad-free and in an “elegant and streamlined layout.”
The app will also allow its users to browse through the streams of other News.me subscribers. (You’ll even have access to streams of “notable users such as Steven Johnson and Nicholas Kristof,” boasts the News.me site.)
If you don’t have an iPad, News.me will send you a daily email newsletter of “the most interesting news flowing through your Twitter stream” (although that doesn’t seem nearly as cool as the app).
So far, a number of publishers have partnered with News.me to provide their content, including some (like The New York Times and Associated Press) that haven’t always been hospitable towards online news aggregators in the past. Other publishers that have signed up include Forbes, AOL, and the blogs Gawker, Business Insider, Mashable, Gigaom, and VentureBeat. There’s no search function within the app and users won’t be able to subscribe to a specific publication, so people won’t be able to use it to get around publishers’ paywalls.
Subscriptions will cost 99 cents per week, or $34.99 annually. News.me plans to pay partnered publishers for their content, and regain that value through subscription fees. Publishers will also be able to run promotions on the News.me app.
Users will also be able to access stories from publishers that don’t have a partnership with News.me, but their stories won’t be reformatted to look as good, and those publishers won’t get paid or be able to advertise on the app.