Newsstand is often included on a lot of phones, especially Google branded or Nexus phones, but that doesn’t mean it’s widely accepted as a default news aggregator. I think a lot of people still turn to services like Flipboard, Nuzzel, or to some degree RSS feeds. While most Android users are quite aware the existence of the application, it’s taken some reputation of being bloatware. For that reason I’m declaring Play Newsstand one of the better applications that no one is using.
Newsstand is a Google Play property which ties into their media or consumption services bringing in Google Music, Movies & TV, and Applications. With Newsstand, Google can sell magazines, magazine subscriptions, and provide great content that’s easily shareable. Similar to the other Play Store channels, users can see their subscribed content under Read Now. The other left side navigation clicks take users to their subscribed content, bookmarks, and a surprisingly useful recommendation engine.
Reading the content is not clunky like most readers. A tap on an article loads the internal browser which opens the article or story in a snap. The UI is interactive and allows for bookmarking or sharing. I’ve also seen Google cater interests with what I read in improving their recommendations. As Google has also done with some other applications, they have made it easy to add a shortcut on the home screen. So if I want to see what’s happening in soccer news, I just go to that shortcut and I’m up to speed in minutes. For those traveling, data can be downloaded onto those devices giving users something to do when there simply isn’t a working internet connection.
With Google Play Newsstand, discover more of the news and magazines you care about all in one app on your Android tablet or phone. Enjoy breaking news and in-depth articles featuring audio, video and more. From sports, business, cooking, entertainment, fashion and more – now get both free and paid news plus subscribe to vibrant full HD magazines, all in one place. With hundreds of premier publishers – it’s all there, easy to follow, read, and share.
- All in one – With one app and one tap, you have access to free and premium content from news, magazines, blogs and more.
- Enjoy Read Now – Start reading right away with a home screen that quickly learns what you’re into and highlights that adapt to your interests over time.
- Explore – Dig into categories like Arts & Photography, Business & Finance, Food & Drink and more and subscribe to topics tagged to the articles that interest you most.
- Go Offline – Access any news edition, topic or magazine offline without missing a page. Bookmark news stories you don’t have time to read for later.
All in all, I believe that Newsstand has enough polish and maturity that it’s worth a second look. I would challenge anyone to make it their primary media and news consumption tool for a week and let me know if it changes your mind as well. Here are a full list of features that comes with Newstand, download it now (if it’s not already on your device) and enjoy.