The news can be overwhelming at times these days. Between the constant chatter on 24 news channels, Twitter updates, and web aggregators, everyday news has become noise. This is a problem—or at least Yahoo says it is. To help readers cut through the chaff and get actual informative news it’s introduced the News Digest App.
Built on top of Summly, which Yahoo purchased in 2013, the Yahoo News Digest presents the day’s events in a string of 14 to 16 news stories. When starting the app, there’s only a quick, three pane explanation on how it works and then users are free to start reading without any login or account signup process.
The main screen of the application is a list of the top eight or seven most important stories of the day. More news items can be found by scrolling down. Tapping on the image or any of the headlines, will slide open the article. Each is piece is written in a straightforward newspaper style summary of the events for quick three-minute reads.
Scroll past the text and there’s also additional images or video, and often a Wikipedia excerpt to further expand on an issue brought up in the story. At other times it could be a graph or embedded map. The basic idea is these extra materials help readers contextualize the news. Readers who want to dig deeper can also scroll down to the references and click links to read the original sourced material. All the articles in the digest are written based off of reporting from wire services like the Associated Press and direct sources such as Al Jazeera.
The app presents every story summary in a very clean and minimalistic manner designed for skimming on smartphones. The style is reminiscent of Feedly and it even shares some of the same gesture controls such as swiping to the left to start reading the next item. What little flair the app has can be found in its next digest countdown clock, which users can access by tapping on the list icon on the upper right.
As for the actual spread of stories, the news roundup covers topics from the world, business, US happenings, and a smattering of sports. It’s not going to cover everything happening in the world, but we never felt like the digest included a filler item or missed reporting on an important event. With that said, if you’re looking for live updates happening every two seconds, this isn’t the app for you.
The Yahoo News Digest only updates twice a day at 8 AM and 6 PM, lining right up with commutes to work and when coming back home. There aren’t any ways to customize what types of news items show up or even a way to share digest stories through social media. Instead everyone gets the same batch of articles and that’s it. This really is Yahoo’s way of swimming against the tide of overwhelming news cycle.
The Yahoo News Digest is not a perfect solution nor is it the best way of consuming news. But for readers who just want to stay in the know with in an easy to read format, this could be the app for you.
Kevin Lee is a freelance writer who types all day and listens to his ever-expanding music library. Follow Kevin Lee on Twitter at @baggingspam.
The Yahoo News Digest is an iOS app available for free in the iOS App Store.