Yahoo Closing Down Its Popular News Digest App

Yahoo has announced it is shutting down its award-winning News Digest app, which it bought from a 17-year-old entrepreneur for a reported $30 million. The simplistic news service sent you a “digest” of the top six to eight stories of the day at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

News Digest launched in January of 2014, having evolved from the Summly app built by British entrepreneur Nick D’Aloisio. D’Aloisio was paid $30 million by Yahoo for the app and joined the company to work on its next stage. Since launch, the app has proved to be hugely popular, keeping users informed on the news without demanding large chunks of their time.

Yahoo is now informing the app’s audience that it will be shutting down at the end of the month. The company has provided just a week’s notice, confirming that no new digests will be created after June 30. Users are being told to download Yahoo’s new Newsroom app instead. Newsroom has a wider focus on aggregation, straying away from the short and snappy digests that have proved so popular in the past three years.

The shutdown comes just 10 days after Verizon completed its purchase of Yahoo. The app seems to be the first victim of the $4.5 billion deal, suggesting the new owner is looking to cull some of Yahoo’s offshoot products. The decision hasn’t proved popular with News Digest fans, though, many of whom lamented the withdrawal of the app.

The Next Web’s Abhimanyu Ghosal said Yahoo is “shooting itself in the foot” by shutting down the “best app it’s ever built.” Ghosal and others pointed out that News Digest’s pioneering UI and focused structure made it an exceptional example of a news app.

Unlike virtually all other players in the field, News Digest shunned the never-ending homepage for a curated set of headlines that would keep you engaged for a finite timespan. This allowed you to browse the app on your own terms, knowing it would only take a few minutes to get up to date on everything that’s relevant to your interests.

Yahoo Newsroom shoots in exactly the opposite direction. It’s a traditional news aggregation service, featuring social elements, articles from a variety of media sources, the ability to “follow” topics and themes, and, of course, the obligatory never-ending story stream. Where News Digest understood that engagement could be won through short-and-snappy interactions, Newsroom follows the Facebook approach of keeping you in the app for as long as possible.

News Digest’s closure leaves a hole in the app stores that will force a significant number of people to start looking for another newsreader. It’s estimated that around 9.5 million people worldwide currently get their news from News Digest. Yahoo will hope they’ll migrate to Newsroom, but the different focus of the app may see many others abandon the company altogether.

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