Web App Review: Pimp My News!
I have to admit, when I first heard about Pimp My News for iPhone, I was… less than enthusiastic. I mean, “Pimp” My News? Perhaps I am a little old school, but I thought with a name like this, the website is all bling and no substance. Boy was I wrong…
Pimp My News (PMN) has a standard website with an optimized iPhone interface. As you can imagine by the title, the website is an aggregator for multiple site feeds and more. Let’s start off with the aggregator.
Once you create and account on the desktop version of PMN, you are led through a wizard to select feeds you would like to view. Feeds are broken down into categories such as Technology→ Apple or Politics→ Wonkette and so on. There is a surprisingly good selection of news choices. I was pleased to see plenty of familiar websites and a few I have not heard of before. Once you checkmark your selections, they get added to “Your Feeds”. The only issue I had with this is that you are unable to add your own feeds. This is not too much of a detractor however since their feed selection is rather good.
One you access PMN on the iPhone, you are given a familiar experience to their desktop version. Your feeds are combined into a running list. Simply flick your finger to get to the bottom. Once there you can view previous news stories by tapping a corresponding previous page such as 1, 2, 3 and so on.
You can look at each news story via a Summary or Full article. The summary choice will give you a summary below the article on the same page, the Full choice will open the page in the native website in a new tab. There is even an option to email the news story to a friend, however this is not done via the native Mail.app, rather in HTML. I would have preferred Mail.app integration like with i.Bloglines.
So What is the Difference?
By now you are asking yourself, “What makes PMN any different than any other feed aggregator such as Google Reader or Bloglines?” The difference in is the “pimp” factor. PMN, believe it or not, has the ability to play each story audibly or have a custom on-the-fly podcast created of your content! Let me explain how this works:
Among the list of news stories along with the Summary, Full and Email option is a speaker icon. Tap the icon and the iPhone will stream the article to you via the PMN voice. The voice is very good and only really stumbles on words that are spelled out, other than that, it sounds great. Though very cool, I did not find this feature particularly useful. When using the iPhone and reading the page, why would I stop and let the audio stream to me; it is faster to just read the page.
However, the podcast component is “pimp”. It will serve up about 10 minutes of spoken text from your feeds every morning! Now that is service. PMN even gives you a handy Subscribe in iTunes link.
PMN really surprised me. At first I thought it was just another news feed clone, but it offers something very unique that I have not seen presented before in other sites. I really like the idea of having my news read to me in a Podcast and the convenience of iTunes availability makes it that much more accessible.
Ratings (out of 5)
- Look and Feel: 4
- Navigation: 4
- Features: 5
- Reliability: 5
- Overall: 4.5
- Choose between many available news sources
- Custom Podcast is awesome!
- Account must be created on desktop Mac/PC
- Cannot add your “own” news sources
- Cannot use native Mail.app for emailing of news
- Cannot change that awful purple color!