I can remember the days when a decent RSS feed reader was an essential part of any smartphone setup. Nowadays, many people wouldn’t know what an RSS feed was, even if they had the app for it on their device. Now that is largely due to people getting their news and gossip from social sites like Twitter and Facebook, as well as rolling video news sites being so prominent.
So many people use Twitter as a kind of aggregated news feed, it is surprising that more people don’t opt for apps and services like Canword, which go far beyond what Twitter can do, in terms of getting new and fresh content displayed in an inviting and interesting way.
Canword describes itself as an ‘Omni Reader’, which means it grabs its news from many different sources, like personal Facebook feeds, graphical sources such as Instagram, as well as more traditional news sites.
The app is very easy to set up, especially if you have Facebook and Twitter accounts on your phone already. You just log in to each, then select the type of news you are interested in, such as celebrity, breaking news or sports, and you are good to go. The app cleverly integrates it all into one, seamless feed.
You just scroll down, with your friend’s Facebook statuses fitting surprisingly well with top international news and your favourite singer’s Instagram pics. It is all rather fluid and works very well, and I can see it becoming the ‘go to’ app that people click on before anything else, in order to get a quick overview of what is happening in their friend’s lives, as well as the wider world.
The app is gorgeous to look at, with superb presentation throughout, and it is easy to see the effort the developer has gone to, to ensure all the sources are formatted correctly and seem to flow together naturally. The only bug I could find is where news stories could sometimes be repeated if, for example, a friend posts a link that has the same content as a breaking news story. Now, this didn’t happen very often, as the app obviously has some kind of URL recognition going on to prevent this, but it did happen to me once or twice.
The only thing I would like added is more customisation of news sources. Just having ‘sports’ is too wide-ranging, as I don’t want certain sports appearing in my feed, for example, and this is true for all the feeds. A local option for news would also be welcome. I understand this is supposed to be an easy to use app, but a bit more choice would really help this app to fly.
Aside from that, there is a lot to love here. Articles can be saved to be read later, you can also keep favourite articles forever, and you can even create a custom journal of stories, which is a great touch. The article sharing is almost unrivalled, and you can even create Twitter and Facebook posts from within the app.
Overall, this is a well designed and subtly very clever app, and one that has a wide range of social and sharing options. More customisation of sources would be great, but even as it stands, Canwords is a very strong app.