News360 is one of 53 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Spring 2011 event taking place this week in Palm Desert, Calif.. These companies do pay a fee to present, but our coverage of them remains objective.
Most readers of online news are either swamped by information, much it duplicated or irrelevant, or limit their reading to a few sources, thereby possibly missing out on important information. News360 attempts to improve the situation by providing personalized, “cream of the crop”, news stories on mobile devices.
News360 aggregates more than a thousand different news sources and uses semantic text analysis to identify the meaning of an article, rather than just categorizing based on keywords. An entity extractor identifies the companies, people, brands and places in each story. More than 500,000 different entities can be identified. Articles from different sources which cover the same news are clustered together and sorted into different news categories.
The platform then uses all this semantic metadata to deliver concise and targeted news feeds on mobile devices. News360 can filter news by location or topic. The user can also create custom feeds based on the set of entities, or import this data from their Facebook profile, to get a single unified feed that shows news stories about all the topics which are of interest to that user.
News360 uses a simple swipe interface that makes it easy to scroll through news on a mobile device. An object dossier creates summary pages around topics. Click on the word “Apple” and the app explains what Apple is, thus removing the need to perform a web search while reading news.
The News360 app is free and is available for iPhone and iPad and Windows 7. It has been downloaded more than 200,000 times and gets about 20,000 daily unique users. Its main competitors are services like Google News, Flipboard and Pulse News. The founders claim that News360 improves on those services since it doesn’t require any configuration or feed selection but can still provide personalized news via a Facebook connection or local news via a Tripit account. It also covers all the points of coverage of every news story, thus giving a true 360 degree view.
New360’s team is experimenting with different monetization models including premium features, advertising and partnerships with content owners, but hasn’t yet committed to any particular model.
News360 was founded in 2010 in Moscow, has 20 employees and has received 5 million dollars on funding, some of which was provided by Russian VC firm Oradell.