Turning inner space into outer space

May 9, 2014

Yahoo News Digest gives you the news basics you need

Yahoo News Digest has arrived in Canada, and this app for iPhone and Android just might be the easiest way to keep up with general news for the country and around the world.

Nine stories in the morning and nine in the evening await your perusal, along with notifications to remind you to read them. Coverage includes the big events of the day in politics, business and sports. But it can just as easily include a story about a 70-year-old man graduating from high school. The focus is on Canada, although not exclusively.

The good news is that you’ll never miss out on anything important — the selection of stories appears to be reliable in this way. The bad news is that nine stories will do little to quench your thirst if you’re a news junkie or have specialized tastes.

The articles themselves are competently written, although perhaps a bit dry and lacking in personality. Still, they cover they main points, and you can consider yourself well-informed after reading them.

The stories are “summarized by Yahoo,” which means that the original information came from sources such as The Canadian Press, CBC, Reuters and others that are not always specified. These are trustworthy sources, to be sure, but you might wonder why you’re reading the summary when you could be reading the original. CBC and Reuters both have apps available.

Yahoo seems to have anticipated this sentiment with links at the bottom of each story to related write-ups around the Internet. It’s a nice touch that allows you to go deep with subjects that catch your attention.

News Digest adds an element of gaming with a circle of dots at the bottom of the main page. As you read the stories, the dots are filled — providing an incentive of sorts to read them all and complete the circle.

You can also switch to a monthly view to see how many stories you have read in recent weeks. This could be handy for people working to improve themselves by forming a habit of keeping up with the news.

One problem with this approach is that for a story to count as read, all you have to do is tap on its headline. I did this by mistake, and got credit I didn’t deserve. Also, you might wind up reading only a couple of lines before deciding you’re not interested after all. Should this count as “read?”

Beyond this quibble, the design is pleasing to the eye, with a restrained use of colour that gives the an app overall feeling of credibility.

I would recommend this Yahoo News Digest for anyone who feels they aren’t keeping up with the news as much as they should be. There are many business and social situations where you might feel left out if the conversation turns to the major news of the day. News Digest will ensure that you can at least join in with a knowledge of the essentials.