Microsoft Garage — the Redmond based tech giant’s literal garage which keeps rolling out Android apps every now and then, has just spun off another one. Its called ‘News Pro’ — a news aggregator app which has nothing ‘Pro’ about it except for the fact that it uses that word in its name.
So in times like these, when we already have a clutter of news aggregation stuff lying around on app stores of both iOS and Android, you’d except someone like a Microsoft to really come up with something revolutionising. Sadly, News Pro isn’t that app, by any means.
Its a basic news aggregation app which claims to personalise your news reading experience. How you ask ? By using perhaps the most common personalisation methods available in the developer world today — yup, facebook/linkedin/twitter logins. And while News Pro claims personalisation, I could hardly see any.
The app, once you download, greets with you a neatly designed welcome screen that gives you four options for personalisation — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Email based logins. Now the welcome screen may have a fancy design (powered by some awesome shots from getty images), that right there — the logins section — makes your realise this is nothing but a simple, off the shelf news aggregator.
But that isn’t it. There’s more disappointment coming up.
I logged in using my twitter account, and saw a tiled view of various top stories of the day. All of this looks good, but none of it — literally none of it — was personalised. Sitting here in India with my obvious interests lying in the recent Indian Army surgical strikes across border, the news app shows up the unfortunate new jersey train crash highlights all the way down. Upon scrolling I see US presidential election updates and sports update — again from the US. At the end, there’s a mild mention of the topic of my interest, somewhere in the ‘World’ section downstairs.
This could be because of the fact that the app is made for US audience as of now. But again, it has rolled out globally, hence such a thing isn’t expected out of Microsoft Garage.
Want more disappointment ? Here it is. The news stories, instead of opening in an expected, custom interface which I was hoping could be the saviour for this otherwise useless app, instead open up mobile websites of their respective news sites. There’s of course something called a ‘Speedy View’, which strips off all images/flashy content and displays pure text, but all of its happening on the mobile website of that particular news site — no custom UI, at all.
The app is available for download on the play store. I of course purely won’t recommend you o waste your time on this. However, if you still wish to see whatever it is that Microsoft Garage is creating these days, go ahead and download.