Social News Reading App SmartNews Makes US Debut

October 1, 2014

4:30 pm

The news reading app from Japan, SmartNews, has released its app for both iOS and Android today in the U.S. market. With nearly 5 million users in a country of 127 million people, the app has become a valuable commodity in the Japanese market and hopes to spread its lasting effect on news consumption in the United States.

Launched in Japan back in 2012, SmartNews has since attained wide recognition in the Japanese market – boasting both the “Google Play App of the Year” award, as well as an Apple “App Store Best of” in news category, last year. Using algorithms and a real-time analysis of web pages and social media, the app finds and categorizes trending stories. Users can also sync their Twitter accounts and tailor their SmartNews experience per their interests. And, what’s more, the app offers a SmartView low-bandwidth function that allows you to load content event in areas with limited or poor service (e.g., the subway).

“At Vox, we don’t want to tell readers what just happened, or how we feel about what just happened, we want to make sure they understand what just happened,” said Melissa Bell, Executive Editor of Vox.com, in a statement. “To do that, we need to deliver the information a reader needs at the moment they need it. SmartNews is a great opportunity to experiment with a new delivery mechanism and, in partnership with them, we hope to reach a new audience that is seeking out the context behind major news stories.”

Additionally, SmartNews is a very publication-friendly platform. The company makes its U.S. debut with several partnerships with publishers already in place, including leading sources like NBC News, The Los Angeles Times, The Associated Press, CNET, The Verge, The Huffington Post, Quartz, SB Nation, Re/Code, Mashable, The Atlantic, Vox.com, Bleacher Report, TechCrunch, Engadget, and ProPublica. These publications recognize the benefits of a news reading platform that’s constantly finding the latest trending stories, and benefit additionally from the company’s policy of giving publishers 100 percent of revenue from ads placed on its platform.

SmartNews is free to download now for iOS or Android. In August of this year, the company raised a $36 billion Series B in order to support the efforts to make their application available outside Japan.

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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