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NewZap: Intelligent news reading app

July 26, 2012

Keeping up with the news doesn’t mean having to be glued to the TV 24/7 or buying the newspaper daily. A number of news providers bring the news to you, which means you can easily access them through your computer or your mobile device.

Unfortunately, news providers can cover topics ranging from innovation to crimes, technology to religion, and while you’ll no doubt want to keep up with what’s happening in the world around you, you’ll only be interested in a number of things. To save you time in sifting through dozens of articles, a news reading app for Android promises to give you only the news you’re interested in.

Introducing NewZap – News for You, developed by Musicexplorer. According to the developer, NewZap is an intelligent news reader that will automatically detect which news you like and will provide you news that matches your interests.

This news reading app for Android provides you the latest news from CNN, BBC, The New York Times, TechCrunch, and CNBC all for free. In fact, the app doesn’t even support ads, so you won’t be distracted from your reading.

You’ll find a number of icons on the app’s main screen. On the top, the two large icons are Zap News and News by Tag. These are the two ways you can discover news.

Tapping on Zap News brings you to a random article. If you want to read more, you can swipe your finger right to left across the screen to bring up a new article. You can go back to your previous article by swiping left to right. Articles are presented in white text on a black background.

If you don’t like browsing random articles, you can check for news through the News by Tag. NewZap will provide you a bunch of random tags. Tap on the one you’re interested in and you’ll be brought to an article regarding that tag. If you don’t find anything interesting in that list of tags, you can hit the Refresh button in the upper right to generate a new list.

The other icons on the main screen are for your History, so you can check on the articles you’ve read; your Username; the app’s settings; a quick How to Guide for using NewZap; a way for you to provide feedback to the developers; and more information about the app in About.

What makes NewZap notable is that it allows readers to comment on the articles. Tap the icon in the upper right corner and the article will flip into a mode where you can add feedback for an article. Long-tap over a word to highlight it and leave a comment.

Do you think that the headline is misleading or fails to capture the essence of the article? You can also long-tap on the spot over the headline to suggest a more appropriate one. The best rated headline will be shown on top of the page, visible for all users to see. Comments with a positive rating will give the article’s words a greener color, whereas negative comments will color the words red.

When you tap on Settings, you’ll be able to set how you’d like to sort your articles. You can choose among Last seen article first, First seen article first, Best rated article first and Worst rated article first. You can also opt to clear your history.

NewZap is a nice way to find new articles but it also had some things it could improve on. For example, some articles trailed off at the bottom of the page. Other articles contained repeated lines. Cons: Some articles on NewZap trail off and don’t continue. Other articles seem to lift directly from the websites and have strange repeating lines such as these. The former is a bit disappointing as it doesn’t allow the reader to finish reading the article, while the latter can be easily overlooked.

Some may find NewZap’s text all right for their eyes but personally I found it a little small. NewZap doesn’t allow pinching to zoom so people who have a hard time reading small text might have a hard time with it. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, however, and I’m hoping the devs will include these improvements in future updates of their news reading app for Android.

Keep up with the news that matters to you today. Download NewZap – News for You from the Google Play Store for free.

[Update 2012-07-28] The app’s developer, Dany Sünnen, reached out to us immediately after reading the original version of this review. He quickly updated the app, taking into consideration the suggestions mentioned in the original review. After short incremental updates within a span of just a few hours, NewZap’s fixed and tiny font size can now be manually adjusted. The annoyances about repeated lines and trailing or clipped text appear to have been fixed. So, if you’ve not done so as yet, get the updated version from the Google Play Store now. Thanks, Dany Sünnen, for your quick response. –Ed.