Circa: A Daily Dose of News

Three years ago, news aggregators ruled the App Store. Heavyweights Pulse and Flipboard were heralded as the next great innovation in news. Their sleek interfaces wowed smartphone lovers and technology critics alike. As the hype subsided, many felt that the promised fluid user interface was not as wonderful as it once appeared.

The smartphone has gained immense popularity over the last several years, and consuming news has become a major problem for mobile. Twitter, the largest arena, is home to publications tweeting 140 character teasers of articles attempting to garner views to their respective websites.

Smartphone applications Summly and Storify both employ different strategies for digesting news stories. Storify allows users to follow how a story progresses via social media and traditional news sources. Summly uses algorithms to find the buzz words in a news story, then generates bullet points of the most important “facts.”

But what if there was an even better way to consume news that combines these features? Enter Circa. It’s is a new way to read the news on the go. The recently released smartphone app seeks to make reading thew news on a smartphone more snack-sized and less of a chore.

People are always on the go and reading a long article in a mobile browser is not the best use of their time. Circa employs about twelve editors that sift through articles on a particular topic and pick out prominent facts, background information, or quotes. As a story progresses, more information is gathered and sorted. Circa’s interface ultimately begins to resemble a timeline of a given topic.

The most impressive part of this idea is the cultivation of the content. Having editors that have an eye for what is critical to a news story adds a necessary human touch. The trend of technology is often to eliminate the human element as much as possible in an effort to create more automation. As Circa grows, its goal is to expand its number of editors, and therefore the number of topics it will cover. In the coming months, it will be fascinating to see if this bite sized news consumption is able to take the mobile landscape by storm.

Do you use Circa? Do you plan to start? Start a conversation about this new app in the comments section.

Jared Rosen

Jared is a sophomore advertising major at the Newhouse School of Public Communications and a marketing management major at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. He is an avid golfer and passionate Boston sports fan. He can be followed on Twitter at @jaredmarc14.

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