Popular Japanese news app SmartNews has announced its official rollout in the US, giving users a hub of information across a variety of topics, from popular news sources around the web. The app doesn’t display every news story from every outlet; instead, it uses “proprietary algorithms and real-time analysis” of web pages to determine the day’s top stories, presenting those to users three times a day.
While SmartNews updates with new content throughout the day, users can assign three specific delivery times for notifications on top news stories. A morning delivery can present news at 7:30 AM, for instance, just in time for users to read while commuting on the bus or train to work. Users can customize the midday report to arrive during their lunch break, while the evening news can come right before going to bed, or just after getting home from work (as examples). ]
Further customization options allow users to follow or unsubscribe from the app’s general topics, which range from entertainment and lifestyle to world news and sports. If someone isn’t a sports fan, for instance, turning this off eliminates sports stories from being populated within the app (unless they also coincide with another followed topic, like entertainment).
While users can browse stories from multiple sources based on the theme of that content, users can also follow individual news sites for additional stories. Doing so adds outlet-specific tabs to the dial at the top of the screen. If someone is really into sports, for instance, they can add specific SB Nation and Bleacher Report tabs to their news catalog. As of right now, the selection of available publishers is limited, but users have access to major outlets like The Los Angeles Times, NBC News, the Associated Press and more, depending on the category.
When browsing news, users receive the headline, outlet name and a small image for (most) stories, and can tap to go to the original publisher’s website to read the full story. Any advertising revenue generated through the app goes to the publisher, not SmartNews. If the user desires, they can tap on the “SmartView” button to view a cleaner version of the article with any bells and whistles stripped away, leaving behind only the article’s text and images. It should also be noted that this SmartView button eliminates the loading time that might be associated with loading a full webpage.
“SmartNews’s goal is to help publishers gain a larger audience and additional revenue from mobile,” said Rich Jaroslovsky, vice president for content at SmartNews. “In Japan, respected names like Asahi and Yomiuri are seeing the benefits of partnering with SmartNews. In the U.S., we can be a key ally for publishers as they navigate the shift of consumers from desktop to mobile.”