Everyone is apparently trying to crack the curated news segment. Going from Google News to Facebook and Twitter’s algorithmic feeds, some of the biggest companies out there are doing the very best to find the news you want to read. Though apparently, few of these competitors manage to do just that.
They get pretty close, though you may often find articles in feeds that you have no interest in to check. Microsoft is basically throwing in it’s hat in the ring with this new app. Hummingbird, and it just may leave you with the same mixed feelings as the other apps would do.
Hummingbird seems to be only available in the US (and for now it’s not available in Germany, India or Lebanon), though we got the APK up on an APK Mirror if you want to try it out.
The app starts out by offering you to sign into your Microsoft or even LinkedIn accounts, though you can go ahead and skip that if you’d rather not commit just yet. The main screen asks you to set up your “Mix”, or for example, the list of topics you are interested in. Unlike Google News, you cannot drill down to granular options like a specific sports team or player, or company, or even celebrity. Instead, you get categories like the NBA, celebrities, road trips or even cooking.
Once your favorite mix of content is all set up, the feed is then updated with the articles your most likely going to be interested in. You can then tap the options button on any article to save it, share it, dislike it, or simply just block all the news from that one source. Tapping the article in it’s original site it was published into is possible, though Hummingbird’s title bar where you can switch into reading mode (with control over font, background color, and text size) as well as copy the URL.
Id you would like to update your feed with even more topics, a plus button on the top right lets you do so easily (the hummingbird icon on the top left does nothing).
Aside from the feed, there are also two other tabs in the app. “Search” actually acts more like a shortcut to general topic, and “Me” takes you to view your topics, saved articles and history. This is also where you can sign in or even access your settings. Thankfully, there is an option to clear all of your data and to disable automatic video or GIF playback.
Microsoft says that Hummingbird will get better in time, as the AI learns more about what you like to read and what to avoid. Though, as always, that’s to be seen.
If your just still looking for the most perfect curated news application, maybe you should give Hummingbird a try out. For the very first release, it isn’t all that bad. You can download it from the Play Store if your in the supported country, or from APK Mirror if your not.