What is a good mobile news home page?

Have you seen a good mobile news home page? I’ve been trying to find noteworthy examples, but I rarely visit the main page of any informational site. Like many others, I find most of my news through the “side doors” of mobile apps, social networks and search engines.

Here are four of the main ways I get news on my Android device, excluding Twitter and Facebook. These are screenshots from apps. From the left, we’ve got Prismatic, Zite (yes, I know they were acquired by Flipboard), Feedly, and Circa.

screenshots of four news apps
From left: Prismatic, Zite, Feedly, and Circa.

But an app is not a site. So what do the first pages of mobile news sites look like? Here are samples from four markedly different sites that publish news.

screenshot of four mobile news home pages
From left: The New York Times, TechCrunch, Gawker, and Mediagazer

I didn’t find many common elements between these and other news sites. Without access to their goals and analytics platforms, I can’t tell what works and what doesn’t work.

So what do you think? What mobile news home pages do you visit? What do you like about it? What improvements would you like to see? Please leave a comment below or reach out to me @ksablan on Twitter.

Facebook Messenger asks for ONLY FOUR extra permissions

Facebook Messenger App
Facebook Messenger app by Kārlis Dambrāns licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Facebook Messenger app for Android asks for exactly four permissions that aren’t already required by the main Facebook app. If you’re worried about the social network accessing your phone, focus your concern on the  main Facebook app. It asks for 10 more permissions than Messenger.

I decided to dig a little after the Messenger app attracted more scrutiny this week. Security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski described “spyware type code” he found after disassembling and examining the iOS app’s code.

The Google Play store lists each app’s permission, so I compared the full list of permissions for the Facebook app and the Messenger app. I didn’t compare the iOS apps because Apple’s App Store does not itemize each app’s permissions.

Messenger permissions

The Messenger app requires 33 permissions. Here are the four that aren’t already required by the main Facebook app:

  1. edit your text messages (SMS or MMS)
  2. receive text messages (SMS)
  3. send SMS messages
  4. receive text messages (MMS)

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My6Sense and Instapaper: Great for gathering news links

My6Sense is a mobile app that reads your sources (RSS feeds and social streams) and ranks items based on your actions. The theory is that the more you use the app, the more it learns about your interests, and the better it gets at surfacing the “stuff you want.”

One challenge for me is that I do work on both my phone and computer, and My6Sense doesn’t have a desktop or web app. Thankfully, they recently added the ability to link to an Instapaper account.

This is great for mobile newsgatherers and reporters. Let My6Sense find important items, and then “save” those items that you plan to review, link to or just read on your computer.

I downloaded the app, and modified its settings to link it to my Instapaper account, and it is now this easy for me to save links from my phone to use on any computer …

Here is my stream of content on the My6Sense Android app.

I clicked on the News Leadership 3.0 item.

Then I pressed the menu button.

Pressing the “save” button stored the item for later reading and sent it to my Instapaper account.

When I went to Instapaper.com, that item was right there at the top of my list.

If you have an Android phone, you can use this QR code to download My6Sense from the Market.

My6Sense QR Code