Earlier today, Paul Thurrott, posted about the updates that were made available for the built-in Windows 8/RT apps. Finance, News, Map, Sports, Travel and Weather apps were all updated, providing some much needed feature refreshes. Sifting through the new releases, I realized that I rarely use them, primarily because of their limited functionality, and the fact that there’s other apps in the Windows Store that provide better value. So much so, that I had actually removed the majority of those apps, determined to never use them again.
But, one specific update caught my attention: the News app. Microsoft has now added the ability to punch in your own RSS feeds to make your news more personal and, I’m sure, to help those with Google Reader withdrawals to find a home for their favorite news feeds.
So, I thought I’d try the News app again, only to realize that I was so disgusted with it before that I had actually uninstalled it. I completely forgot. I’ve been using Discourse, which, to me, was the best replacement news reader for Windows 8/RT. If you’ve not taken a look at Discourse before, I wrote about it a while back, and you can read about my love for that app here (including the Windows Store link): Discourse: Best news reader for the Microsoft Surface RT
After reinstalling News, I found an easy interface, loaded with pre-defined options for selecting the news I wanted, from many different categories. But, what was most important to me, was the ability to feed my own sources into the News app, and that option is right at the top.
One of the glaring omissions of the original News app was the inability to share news. Windows 8/RT provides a Charm menu mechanism for sharing just about anything, so it shocked me to find that the original News app wouldn’t share. The update now provides this ability, allowing you to share content through email or any of the share capable apps you have installed on your Windows 8/RT device.
One thing I noticed, that ensures that Discourse has not been outdone and will remain my news reader of choice, is that the content from your personal sources opens in a pseudo-browser window instead of displaying in the News app itself like many of the provided sources. Discourse gives you the option to either open the article in a full browser window, or read it within the app. I prefer reading it within the app.
The update is a good one and the News app will probably suffice for many. For those shell-shocked that Google would dump a popular service such as Google Reader, the Windows 8/RT News app is a good replacement.
If you want more, though, give Discourse a look.
If you’re like me and uninstalled the original News app, you can get it by searching the Windows Store for “News”, or use the link provided:
News app for Windows in the Windows Store
BTW: Here's the rest of the new features included in this latest News app update:
- Bing News – See the day's top stories and trending topics. Swipe through the latest national, world, tech, business and sports news, and more.
- Customize Your News – Get the news you care about on your home screen by adding, removing and re-ordering content.
- Add A Source – Choose from well-known news sources around the world or add your favorite RSS feeds straight to your home screen.
- Add A Topic – Pick topics you care about —like your favorite sports team, celebrity, or gadget—and follow stories about them.
- International Editions – Interested in what’s making the news in other parts of the world? Bing News allows you to easily add editions from other countries.
- Offline Reading – Download your news and keep up with the day’s headlines even when you’re not connected to the internet.
- Breaking News – Make sure you’re the first to know about major stories with our news alerts.
- Sharing – Share news stories with your friends.
- Full-screen image support - Tap on an image to see it in full-screen and see a slideshow of all images in the article.
- Video and Slideshows - Improved representation of videos and slideshows.