Way2Online, the parent company of Way2SMS, has launched Way2News, an Android app which will provide news snippets in Hindi, Telugu and English. The company claims that the news is curated by its editors, who go through multiple new sources like dailies, TV channels, websites and blogs to summarize each news story to 400 characters.
The company plans to release an iOS app in the next 2 weeks, along with adding 8 more languages in the next 45 days. For now, we’re not sure if Way2News has tied up with Indian news publishers because it displays articles from The Hindu, Economic Times, NDTV, Money Control, Hindustan Times, Zee News and PTI among others.
Strangely, the app only lets you select one language at a time. After selecting Telugu, it gave me the option to select the state edition of Andhra Pradesh or Telangana and for Hindi, it gave the option to choose between Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi.
On the right hand settings menu, you can choose to get news from Indian and international news genres like headlines, news, business, sports, entertainment and specials. The news is presented in a paragraph format and if you swipe up, that item is marked as read. Thereon, you need to click on the headline to read the complete article if you want. When you click on the headline, the app takes you to a page within the app where you see (north and south ads) and the article. It feels like the app is emulating the news source website within the app because on the complete article, there are links to browse the source site.
The Android app needs permissions like device and app history, contacts, media and files and network access among others.
Similar players in the short news aggregation space include:
– Last month, news curator application News In Shorts (now called In Shorts) raised $20 million from Tiger Global in a Series B funding, which would be used for expansion of the team and improving user experience. In February, the company had raised $4 million through a Series A round led by Tiger Global, with participation from Rebright Partners of Japan and existing angels Ankush Nijhawan, Gaurav Bhatnagar, Manish Dhingra and Flipkart Founders Sachin and Binny Bansal.
– There’s Yahoo’s News Digest app which was built on top of Summly, the mobile news aggregation app which Yahoo acquired last year. However, Yahoo had mentioned that it uses a mixture of algorithm and manual editors to select the important articles and identify the important bits and pieces of information in the story.
– OneIndia’s 60 Seconds Now app provides various ‘news in brief’ in different Indian languages including Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu, other than English. The app, which provides curated 60-70 words of news in the aforementioned languages, was released in early January this year.
– NewsHunt offers regional news in Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Oriya and Urdu. However, NewsHunt does not curate the content, instead the app prompts the user to select the languages of their choice and provides category listings in those languages. Last month, NewsHunt bought BuyT, a product discovery and recommendation platform, to integrate with NewsHunt for delivering product recommendations and help improve its mobile advertising based monetization. NewsHunt had raised Rs 120 crore from Falcon Edge Capital, Matrix Partners, Sequoia Capital and Omidyar Network earlier this year. In March, it had acqui-hired Vautz, an analytics and design startup.