April 25, 2013
Yes, it’s another app — à la Zite and Prismatic — that “gets to know you” so it can bring news stories you like but might have missed. This one is called Vū. That’s right: there’s a line above the “u” so you know how to pronounce it. Or maybe it’s just decoration.
This app stands out from the others with its unabashed eye candy. The headline for every story has a picture in the background. And if no picture is available then there is a nice colour gradient. Now, I like gorgeous design just as much as the next guy, but with a news app you have to walk a fine line. After all, the content is the star of the show and too much glitz can be distracting. Vū comes ever so close to crossing that line.
The app is divided into three sections — My Topics, Trending on Vū and Recommended Reading. I found the stories presented in all three sections to be for the most part quite interesting. There are always at least a few that are worth reading, which is about consistent with my experience with Zite and Prismatic.
Where Vū falls behind is with the limited selection of topics. While Zite and Prismatic are pretty much unlimited in their variety, Vū only has nine. With the others, you can get quite specialized — drilling down to, say, Online Journalism, which is always a popular topic here at newsonaut.
I can kinda overlook that limitation, but what I really can’t tolerate is the Share Your Reaction feature. Choices are Cool, Whoa, Nice, LOL, Sweet and Yikes. Yikes, indeed. The articles and their presentation are worthy of a thinking, intelligent reader — so why the dippy-teen reaction choices? Let’s hope a future upgrade allows users to customize their reactions to something more suitable.
Anyhoo, since Zite, Prismatic and Vū are all free there’s no reason you can’t have all three and switch between them as they strike your fancy. Personally, Zite remains my favorite, with Prismatic a close second. I have a feeling I’ll soon tire of Vū and give it the boot.