Ninua's approach to the world of news, as demoed at the 500 Startups Demo Day in Mountain View on Wednesday, is centered around three major news reading pillars, including:
- Headlines and Mainstream News
- What Friends Read
If it sounds simple, that's because it pretty much is. Upon installing and launching the app on Android, you're asked to select three topics of interests from a pre-selected handful. Dependent on your choices (for example: Technology, Startups and Sports), you are then presented with a list of matching blogs and news sources to follow - all of them prechecked to be added to your reading list. Deselect those you don't want, and then you're asked to connect to Facebook to match the social side of things.
Once you've found your friends using the app and what they follow, the app taps its NetworkedBlogs roots and finds other sites your friends may not just be reading, but writing. There's a good chance you'll want to add those to your reading list as well. Now you've got a healthy list of sources based on your interests, and a list of sources based on your friends' interests.
With this array of sources in tow, complete the setup and you can read the news from those sources you've selected, or you can add new sources. There's no mention of the word RSS, the word Feed, or anything remotely as scary as big words like Pubsubhubbub or acronyms like OPML. The resulting articles are laid out with social signals to show other upvotes, and you can share the articles you like best to other services.
Ninua is a new wrinkle on the social-centric reader, mashed up with your own interests. Unsurprisingly, the app debuts with a strong user experience, and it's calm enough to not make you feel like you're missing something on the next page or next refresh. It's a solid approach to simplifying the news reading process, especially on mobile. You can find it on Android Market here: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.ninua.android
Disclosure: I am vice president of marketing at my6sense, which offers a personalized social and news reader for Android, iOS and the Web. It can be assumed that Flipboard, Pulse and Ninua can be seen alternatively as competitors or potential partners.