Spun 2.0 Upgrades Local News by Ditching Location

Spun is a gorgeously designed newsreader app for iPhone with a location twist, bringing you news and information so you can discover cool things in your city. That’s great — as long as you live in one of the 12 cities that Spun serves. What about everyone else?

With Spun 2.0 [iTunes link], launching today, the rest of the world can get in on the experience. Spun’s secret sauce is its discovery engine and editorial staff that ensures the best local content gets to its users. But in the new version, it’s adding content that’s not location-specific, so users anywhere in the world can also find valuable content.

How does that make Spun different from any number of news apps? It’s all in the way it curates that content, explains Scott Lindenbaum, Spun’s cofounder. Instead of serving up topics based on keywords or hashtags, Spun’s algorithm and staff look for articles being shared frequently in various communities.

“There are all these things that are on the tip of culture, but there’s no way you’re going to all those sites every day,” says Lindenbaum. “It’s too hard to find the best stuff. Our big under-the-hood improvement [in Spun 2.0] is our algorithm. We’re now monitoring 10,000 sites, and we wanted to be able to pluck out stories that start to trend.”

For example, if the new Superman movie is a hot topic on its opening weekend, Spun won’t just call up a bunch of reviews. Instead, it’ll highlight content about the movie that’s getting shared at a higher rate — the articles that fans of the movie are talking about online.

Spun isn’t throwing out local content, either. Users in the dozen cities that Spun targets will still see highlights from what’s going on around them — but now, with the new, non-local content mixed in.

Spun’s introduction of non-localized content originated out of the most common user request: bring more cities into the mix. But Lindenbaum says simply adding more places wasn’t an option, since the limited amount of great local content in places like Phoenix, Ariz. wasn’t enough to create a good user experience.

“We asked ourselves a really basic question: What are we really trying to achieve regardless of locale?” says Lindenbaum. “That’s better discovery of stuff on the web on your phone.”

Spun 2.0 also boasts a new user interface, one that takes its unique design even further. The “shape” that users control with gestures now emerges to make clear it’s a virtual object, and the layout makes more use of the triangular edges in the logo.

What do you think of Spun’s attempt at spreading its discovery engine to all? Let us know in the comments.


Lead image via iStockphoto, hocus-focus; screen shot courtesy of Spun


Pin It

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *