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Facebook introduces new app for notifications and news

Facebook has just announced the release of an additional app to help you manage everything that happens on your phone, especially your lock screen.

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For the notification-hungry

When I’m writing, my phone is silent and placed face down, out of my reach, because I’m about as easily distracted as a raccoon in a bucket of glitter. I also choose to use a minimum amount of notifications on my iPhone because I find them to be irritating, befuddling,  and just plain useless. The things I need to know about, I check. The things I don’t, well, why bother having them pop up on my lock screen. This is simply my opinion in regards to notifications, so take what I’m about to discuss with a grain of salt, if you will, please.

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Newsfeed on Notify is way news-ier

Facebook has just announced the release of a new app, Notify. Notify allows U.S iPhone users to curate their own news feed from a list of over 70 “stations,” or news/entertainment/information providers to get a personalized slant on alerts. Stations are curated into several categories and users can select all the categories, or pick and choose only the ones that interest them. Categories range from business and finance, to sports and film. Tapping each category will bring up a list of category-specific providers. For example, if you click on the “entertainment” category, you’ll receive content from Access Hollywood, Billboard, BandsinTown, E!, Cosmo, and more. You can toggle any of the stations under a category on and off. So, if you like Billboard, but despise Cosmo, you can toggle Cosmo off within the app. Making your feed completely customized to your likes and dislikes.

Share from your lock screen

Once you’ve curated your list, you’ll receive notifications delivered right to your lock screen. A quick glance through these will keep you connected to the things that you care about throughout the day. If you want to see more, just swipe or tap through any Notify notification to open the link in the app’s browser where you can read the full article, watch the video, or view the site.

You can also share your favorite notifications with friends via text, email, Facebook or other social networks, right from your lock screen. If a notification catches your eye when you’re busy or distracted, just swipe to add it to your “Saved Notifications” list. You can discover all the notifications you’ve received from Notify in the last 24 hours via a convenient in-app feed so you can easily stay up to date.

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No need to ever open the app

For the notification enthusiasts, Notify hardly ever needs to be opened to enjoy it. You will simply be soaking up the alerts through your lock screen and swiping only when you want to read more. For the notification nay-sayers, like me, it has the potential to overwhelm users by sending them into notification overload. This could drive users to silence all alerts, or delete the app entirely.

Shiny analytics for content

True to Facebook’s form, they will be providing stations with analytics detailing how many people receive, view, click through, share, and most importantly: unsubscribe from each notification. According to TechCrunch, this will allow stations to know what they need to stop pushing if readers begin unsubscribing.

Only time will tell

Whether Notify becomes the “next best thing,” or falls flat on its face like some of the other apps Facebook has released (remember Home?) remains to be seen. It’s a good place to get news right from your lock screen, but isn’t it just as easy to hop online and catch up on all the news at once, rather than scroll through mini-versions on your lock screen? Only time will tell if Notify makes the cut. For now, check it out and see what you think.

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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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