I had completely forgotten that I had posted a story when the original News.me iPad app was released. Such as my opinion of the basic concept that I quickly forgot about News.me and went on with my business. Apparently I was not alone.
The idea behind News.me is that you customize your news feeds just like other news reader apps, but that you can see what other users are reading at the same time. It is news voyeurism, celebrity worship, or a little of both. In any case, what you learn pretty quickly is that others who you have heard of have pretty bad taste (at least compared to your own impeccably tastes) and that there really is not much differentiation between news readers – they are simply taking RSS feeds, after all. The fact that News.me wanted to charge me 99 cents per week to read them was not attractive either.
I'm not generally thrilled with being told what I should be reading, and no further evidence of the failure of the model needs to shown that the fact that when I opened up the new app and finished confirming my Twitter information I was presented with my first news – a story about Sarah Palin. Do I seem like the kind of guy who would care about Sarah Palin? (Don't answer that!)
We'll, maybe News.me will be a better experience for you, and at least now it is free. In that case, you can download the new News.me app starting today in the App Store.
The background of News.me is that it was part of bit.ly and was developed by the New York Times R&D lab. As of today News.me will run as a separate company with Michael Young as Chief Technology Officer, and Rob Haining leading iOS development (the app is currently only available on Apple's platform). Jake Levine, formerly of betaworks, will be serving as General Manager.
As for those News.me users who like the old News.me app and were willing to pay for it, there is some bad news. You have to go into your account and manually cancel your subscription – apparently there is no other way to stop the charges.