ZenNews aggregates the news on your iPhone

Updated on October 18, 2009

Reading Robin Wauters’ review in TechCrunch yesterday of three nifty iPhone news apps, one especially caught my attention (Robin said it was ‘awesome’): ZenNews from UK company Zensify. I’m trying it out.

ZenNews is a free app that aggregates news from a variety of sources, presenting you with tag clouds like these examples from BBC News, Al Jazeera and Sky News.

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I like the concept as you can see at a quick glance what news is hot at that moment, from which mainstream medium. You tap on a tag to see a list of news items; you then tap on a particular item to go to the web page concerned.

You’re really focusing on the news more than on who is providing that news.

How does it work? According to Zensify;

[…] ZenNews isn’t just an RSS reader, it incorporates Zensify’s Smart Analytics technology to provide unmatched analysis, discovery and visualization of the latest breaking news stories from sources around the globe – all in real-time.

It certainly seems to do that. I’ve not explored the app in great detail yet – lots of buttons along the bottom of the screen to look into – other than checking through the settings.

You can choose news categories from a list (general, technology, art, entertainment, science, etc: the types of news you’d expect to see) and from which sources (in addition to the three examples I’ve mentioned, you have others such as CNN, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, New York Times, USA Today, etc).

Initially, I had trouble getting the app to present me with any news. A suggestion from Zensify to uninstall and reinstall it worked, although it took a very long time to bring any news.

Still, I think it is a useful app. I’m a big fan of aggregators, whether RSS or news as, generally, I find them much better solutions than installing separate apps or subscribing separately to content from different places.

In the case of news apps like ZenNews, a big appeal clearly is that it’s free. Yet as more mainstream media continue trying to figure out what media business models will work in the future, the idea of ‘all content is free’ is a finite one, even with a commodity such as news. So would ZenNews end up having to charge for the app or the content itself with a subscription model, perhaps, as BNO News does?

Time will tell. Meanwhile, enjoy it while you can.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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