Google Newsstand – Everything you need to know

November 21, 2013
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    Recently it was announced that Google merged Google Currents and Google Magazine. The result is an application called Google Newsstand which combines the features of both apps into a single interface. How did that turn out? That’s the question we’re going to answer with this review. If you’d rather watch than read, the video is above.


    Google Newsstand review

    Functionality

    So how does this app work? The currents part of the app allows you to populate your news with RSS feeds that interest you while the magazine half lets you find and subscribe to your favorite magazines. The point is Google now gives you the ability to consolidate you entire news feed into a single interface.

    The interface itself is very fluid. You can swipe between the various functions to get to what you want to get to. You can access feeds and magazines individually or, in the case of news feeds, one big giant list of news. The design is lovely and moving around the app takes but a moment to get used to.

    That’s really it folks, if you’ve used the Google Magazine or Currents app, or any other RSS app, you have a pretty good idea of how this app actually works. You subscribe to feeds, get subscriptions to magazines, and read or view it.


    Google Newsstand review

    How can I use this?

    People mourning the death of Google Reader now have a second big option aside from Feedly. The use for this app is obvious. Subscribe to your favorite feeds and magazines and then read the content that gets released from those feeds and magazines. Again, it’s really easy.


    Google Newsstand review

    The good

    So here is the good.

    • The app is very beautifully done. Swiping between the various pages, the simplicity, the look, and the little stuff added in like animations make the app fun to use.
    • It had every magazine and news feed that I searched for, including the obscure and small sites I subscribe to. So users will not be without options for content to consume.
    • Having the RSS feed in with the magazines encourages people to check out the other side. RSS readers will likely check out magazines and vice versa.

    The bad

    And here is the bad.

    • If all you wanted was an RSS app or a magazine app, then you’re obviously dealing with a lot of clutter you didn’t want. The good news is a little configuration can all but fix this.
    • You cannot manage your magazine subscriptions within the app. You’ll be kicked out to the browser to deal with them there. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s a little inconvenient.
    • The only other small nitpick is loading a feed for the first time. When I selected Android Authority, it showed a single feed and no icon. When it loaded, it had numerous feeds and an icon so it does get fixed, but it can make feeds look less valuable than they actually are at first.

    Google Newsstand review

    Final thoughts

    All in all, this is a mammoth improvement. RSS and magazines on Android are not the most popular services and combining them not only gives current users of those services a chance to try something new, but adds value to entice newer users. There were a few problems here and there, but nothing bad enough to dissuade people from trying it out. If you haven’t tried it yet, you can in the Play Store.

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    Comments

    • SSDROiD

      I seriously fucking love Google! I <3 this new app!

    • Fred

      Great coverage Joe! Thanks AA! Google’s taking over the world!

      • SSDROiD

        And doing a better job at it than our current governments!

    • Gorga Naibaho

      Is there a way to tell if a single feed has new content at all without opening the app? Right now I have to click on a feed to know if there’s new content for the moment. Unlike the traditional GReader and Reader which notified me of new content on certain intervals that I can set up.

      • JosephHindy

        I was looking for this too and couldn’t find a way. The magazines have notifications, though, if that helps. I’ve been using it for a couple of days and I’ve just gotten into the habit of opening it and looking when I want to read something.

        • Gorga Naibaho

          Yup, the magazines do have notifications which is quite awesome. The lack of notifications from the feed reader section means I still have to keep GReader around for better access to feeds. Still a great start from Google though.

          • JosephHindy

            I used to do the notifications thing, but I follow like 6 or 7 dozen blogs and there comes a point when the “you have 99+ unread stories” notification becomes annoying lol.

    • Mystery Man

      How to add AA news feed? ಠ_ಠ

      • JosephHindy

        Just search Android Authority and we’ll show up in the results :)

    • Christian Tolentino

      good start. but not enough yet for me to uninstall feedly.

    • asdf

      IMO they should just separate everything, as in break it up into:
      Apps
      Games
      Movies
      TV
      Books
      Magazines
      News
      Devices
      Store
      and the result will be simpler, neater and more colourful :D

      • SSDROiD

        You mean separate Google Play into those categories or the Newsstand app? I ask because that’s already how the Google Play Store works, it is categorized into those different sections you wrote. It’s just that if you live outside of the United States, all that’s visible when you enter the Play Store is the Apps section of it.

    • King Dong

      Pay? Strange concept.

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