By: Nu Yang
Launched in January, Inside is the news app for the reader on the go. Built specifically for smartphones, Inside curates news from around the web and summarizes stories in 300 characters or less. Related images and a link to the original source are also attached to the story. According to Inside founder and chief executive officer Jason Calacanis, the goal is to increase readers’ knowledge while being simple to use.
Calacanis said as news organizations rely on click-bait headlines and focus on page views and time spent, Inside is more concerned about giving people as much information as possible in only a few words. “We’re respecting our audience and their time,” he said.
Readers can create their own news feed and follow topics they are interested in, similar to following a person on Twitter. When Inside launched, it originally saw itself as the “Pandora of news,” allowing readers to vote up and down on stories.
“We underestimated the readers’ desire to craft their own feed,” Calacanis said. “We found out they want to craft their feed as they go. Twitter has educated readers to create their feed, so we just looked at the behavior.”
By using this Twitter model, readers can follow a top news category, see all updates or just stay connected to their own customized “My Feed.”
The app is constantly updated by 50 curators with three to four working at the same time 24 hours a day.
“We tried computer algorithms, but they brought different problems,” Calacanis said. “We had no idea where the original source was; it was linking to click-bait headlines. We were wasting people’s time.”
By using human curators, Calacanis said Inside is able to provide the best facts possible from the most reliable sources.
Inside will launch on Android devices by the end of June and it also set up push notifications for instant updates. It is also available on iPhone, Blackberry, and on the web.
Calacanis said he sees Inside as a 10-year journey, and right now, he is “focused on the quality of the content and the product.” In two years, he will look into monetization. He would also like to add video and audio in a couple years.
“My goal is to become the best news product in the world,” Calacanis said. “No one has won mobile news yet—we want to win it.”
Inside has offices in San Francisco and Culver City, Calif. and can be found at inside.com.