Ever since Google News launched back in 2001, everyone on the web seems to have been going crazy to finding the best way to aggregate news online — and we’re coming back to humans. Over last weekend, Newser launched a service which promises to deliver “Faster, Smarter News.”
Using a combination of an advanced algorithm and a team of human editors, Newser is a product of HighBeam Research. News items are selected from over a 100 sources and laid out on the site, with pictures, and divided into categories — from World to Politics, Business, Technology, and Sport. A news item contains a title, subtitle, date/time, and source.
The real challenge for Newser, is of course, not how it shows something, but it is content selection — what it shows. Frequently when habit-changing services launch, I try to put them into practice and see if it’s actually practically usable–rather than judging it from the surface. In the case of Newser, I can happily say that I’ve been using it as my Google News replacement for the last week–to keep up with general news–and it has worked out.
While I have to admit that I’m not a fan of getting used to new interfaces, Newser is insanely well done. I have tried with Newsvine and others, and there seems to be a barrier between something I’m used to with Google News (before anyone comments — yes, I’m one of the few people who still uses it ) and the format news interfaces these days are presented it. The fact that each item has a corresponding image beside not only makes it eye-catching, but if that’s the only thing I was presented with, I could still follow the news headlines and know which ones would interest me.
Newser is a well-made service which is one of the most practical overall news aggregators I have used to date. The quality of stories seems to be current as well as something which would be important to many. Notably, the site has behind it Caroline Miller, former Editor-in-Chief of New Yorker Magazine.