Review: GNews - Google News Reader UWP


The latest in a series of web-scraping super-apps from developer Fetisenko, GNews - Google News Reader UWP presents (as it sounds) the might of Google's news gathering abilities from around the globe, but presented in full dark-themed, carded, glossy form for Windows 10, especially on the AMOLED-screened phones, where the dark theme can save a lot of battery power. It's free, though you do have to skip over the occasional in-line advertorial headlines. A price worth paying, I think...?

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Fetisenko does a rather excellent job at packaging web sources - we've already seen his BBC News Reader and his Verge News UWP applications. The thing is that those latter two publications have rather excellent web interfaces for phone screens, even under Edge and Windows 10 Mobile, making Fetisenko's scraping system somewhat moot (if convenient). Google's news system is less well thought out via the web generally - it's slick enough within Google's launcher under Android, but accessing on its own is underwhelming. And ugly. And very power inefficient.

Which is why I'm promoting this application to a full review and not just a 'Flow' story in passing. You may remember Google's excellent 'Reader' system five years ago, one of the most popular (customisable) news feed readers of its time. Google withdrew it from the web for no apparent reason, to much outcry. Maybe they wanted to just set about building the best 'next generation' web news interface and this is what Google News became. Even though customisation is limited.

But this UWP application, 'GNews - Google News Reader', is absolutely the best way into Google News for a Windows 10 phone, as you'll hopefully see in the screenshots here. It's immersive and a pleasure to use, drawing you into stories right, left and centre. The stories appear from their original web sources (and backgrounds) but within the application's own 'web view' wrapper, making sure that you can always get back easily to the headlines.


You're asked to pick a country when starting - the range of country filters in Google News is very impressive! You can change the selection later in Settings, of course.


And so on to some of the aggregated headlines, neatly presented by default as a full width image and title, i.e. card style. On the bottom control bar is 'Local news' and this (i.e. Google News, behind the scenes) uses your location to sort stories in your country by tagged distance from where you are. In this case, picking up a small story about '25 new homes' a mile from my house. Note that image retrieval from ultra local stories is not always possible, as here.


With delightful adherence to Windows 10 Mobile styles, you can swipe left and right to move between news sections, here looking at 'Science' stories. As you might expect, tapping on a news card/headline brings up the original story in a web wrapper, with an easy step back and an easy jump forward to the originating web site. Very nicely done.


You get a full 'GNews' multi-size live tile, too. Cycling, as here between text and image views across several stories.


Just for comparison, on the left here is the original Google News web interface. All very white, with over-small fonts, sections down a long hamburger menu; (right) and here the 'list' view in GNews - Google News Reader UWP - not as much fun as the card view, but still a world away from the web original.


Not much you'll want to fiddle with in Settings, but hey... (right) 'Advertisement' headlines appear every so often, as here. All a little annoying, but we have to live with these for now.

If the developer is reading this then I have to press him (again) to simply give us an in-app-purchase to get rid of the annoying advert 'faux stories'. I don't care if it's 79p or £1.79 or £2.79 - just give is a way to zap the ads!

Aside from this, I highly recommend GNews - Google News Reader UWP as a way into one of the biggest news aggregators in the world.

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