To date, News Digest offers twice-daily news headlines in four “editions” — U.S., U.K., Canada, and International. Next up, according to senior Yahoo engineer and aqui-hired Alike founder Maria Zhang, the app could expand into local news. Zhang tells VentureBeat:
We launched a global version. We want to make this product available to everyone and anyone. That said, it is our vision and our focus to deliver this daily habit and satisfy user’s needs — including later on having a personalized version or local version.
According to Zhang, a whopping 40 percent of people who download the News Digest app “become daily users.” Across the board, Zhang says users stay in the app for an average time of two and a half minutes per session.
News Digest was built in collaboration with Nick D’Aloisio, and is in part the result of Yahoo’s high-profile Summly acquisition.
When engineers at Yahoo first built the app, chief executive Marissa Mayer revealed that she wasn’t convinced in a recent interview.
“The news digest app, I almost didn’t want to launch it, because it wasn’t in our core products. We brought this app out and it’s been a huge run away hit.”
While Mayer appears pleased, Yahoo refused to share the size of its current News Digest user-base. According to app tracking site App Annie, Yahoo’s News Digest only cracked the top fifty apps in the U.S. when it first launched. Today the app ranks significantly lower — at the time of writing, it sits at #898 in the U.S. overall. It’s noteworthy, however that News Digest ranks among the top news apps in the U.S.
News Digest clearly has its fans, and if it offers local and personalized editions soon, the app’s appeal could expand quickly.