Today we’re releasing a big upgrade to News With Friends. It includes both iOS and Android versions.
We released v1.0 only two months ago, so it seems a bit bonkers to have a 2.0 so soon. But we learned so much with 1.0 and made so many improvements that today’s release deserved a proper version number of its own.
The idea for News With Friends is pretty simple. It’s for people to experience news together. Journalism.co.uk called it “an app that does exactly what it says on the tin”.
We could see in our research at Kaleida that people want a new place to share news. They’re not sharing news on Facebook as much any more. Instead many people are using messaging and chat apps to do it which is a lot more awkward than it needs to be.
You should just be able to see what your friends are reading and suggest stories for them to read, too. So, we built an app that does that.
News With Friends 2.0 still uses a lot of v1.0. It shows different perspectives of the same story together. It surfaces interesting stories you might have missed. And it still updates constantly, learning what the professional news orgs think is important right now.
We made all that a lot prettier, and we gave it new life by showing your friends’ activity.
There’s a new ticker across the top that shows what your friends are reading right now. You can suggest a story by tapping the star, and then all your friends will see that story.
We’ve all got that friend who shares everything they’re doing all the time, so there’s a button to ‘mute’ people if you want to do that. And, of course, you can ‘hide’ if you’re ashamed to be seen reading that salacious piece of gossip teasing you with an irresistible headline.
We’ll write about the technology that makes all this possible (React Native, Firebase, GraphQL, Elasticsearch and many home grown tools) when we have a moment to breathe. We’ve been working really hard writing code, and we’re eager to get it into people’s hands.
Please download it. You can get the iOS app here:
and Android here: