Rumored Google News Revamp Would Mean The End of Play Newsstand

Google News for Android

An interesting rumor has surfaced just days before Google I/O 2018 about the future of Google News and Play Newsstand.  In a post on AdAge, It is reported that News will become the flagship news service for the Mountain View company, integrating video elements and digital magazines into a single app.  It will mean that Play Newsstand, where digital magazines are currently kept in the Google ecosystem, will be deprecated at some point.

The news is interesting as it reflects a broader effort by Google to streamline their app portfolio to be less congested and confusing for consumers.  Taking this news in balance along with the expected revamp of Google Play Music and YouTube, Google is moving more to the “Google” brand and away from the “Play” brand.  This has already happened with the company moving away from “Android” branding products too.

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Google Play Newsstand Updated With Improved Browsing Speed & Image Viewing

Google Play Newsstand

The Google Play Newsstand, Google’s news curation and information app, has an update rolling out in the Play Store.  The update, version 4.5 for those keeping score at home, improves browsing within the app and also improves the handling of photos with improved zooming in on photos.  If you have the app installed, you can expect the OTA update to the new version over the course of the next few days.

While the Newsstand app relies heavily on AMP pages, there are still plenty of sites that it leverages that don’t use or fully use it.  That can make browsing slower which is something Google addressed in this build.  Browsing of these non-AMP sources is much faster within the app now with far less loading time.  I tested this on both LTE and Wi-Fi connections and in both cases, they content loaded noticeably quicker.

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Google Play Newsstand Now Supports App Shortcuts

App Shortcuts in Google Play News

App Shortcuts, the ability to tap-and-hold to get to specific parts of an app in Android Nougat 7.1, continues to grow and Google is catching up too.  The latest update to Google Play Newsstand now supports the shortcuts, allowing you to quickly get to your curated news, digest of news, Magazines and items you have marked for reading later.  Newsstand undergone a lot of changes in the past six months, most of which have been pretty good.  The big knock I had on the app was that in the redesign, getting to your magazine subscriptions became confusing and not-so-easy to figure out at first.  It’s still that way but with the shortcut now available, it makes it easier to get to them.

As readers probably know, in order for app shortcuts to work, you must be running Android Nougat 7.1 or higher.  That means it is almost completely for Pixel and Nexus devices as very few other devices from other manufactures have 7.1 as of yet.

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Google Play Newsstand Gets A Major Makeover

The news aggregation and magazine reading app from Google, Google Play Newsstand, has a major update rolling out today into the Play Store.  The new version 4.0 of the app is, more-or-less, a complete revamp of the app.  The new update is more in line with Material Design and overall Android app design and features bottom navigation instead of being driven from the hamburger menu like the previous version.  The new For You section gives you a summary and highlights of news from various sources including sources for local news.  New in the app is the ability to have this section of the app downloaded to your device for offline reading.  You also note that the articles are heavily AMP driven for faster loading and when you have read an article, the title will go from bold to normal text to let you know.

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Google Play Newsstand Update Adds AMP Support

Google Play Newsstand for Android has been updated today and while it is a small upgrade, it is an important one.  The app now supports Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, which will give users amazingly fast page loads within the app.  AMP, for those who aren’t familiar, is a new code structure that Google has introduced that allows quick loading of pages from sites that are AMP enabled.

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Google Play Newsstand Update Brings Notifications

Google has released an update to their news and magazine app, Google Play Newsstand, that has enabled notifications from the app.  The update is version 3.5 for those keeping score at home and it is available now in the Play Store.  The app, which is also the app where you read any magazine subscriptions you have through the Play Store, has slowly been evolving over the past year and it looks like it might finally be poised to replace the Google News & Weather app – or it is getting there at least.

When you install the update you will have the option to enable notifications on the first run (you can always go back and enable or disable them in Settings).  Once enabled, you will see notifications for those items you have set up. These can be News alerts from major news events or form those you have setup in the app, magazine issue updates and Deals and Offers.

If you use Google Play Newsstand for magazines, you know that you have been able to get new magazine issues notifications for a couple of months now.  This update just expands it out to include news information.

Google Play Newsstand – Free – Download Now

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Google Play Newsstand Adds Weather Information

Google continues to push the Google Play Newsstand app as your single source for news and information about topics you care about as well as a magazine reader.  The latest update add something simple but important for those who start their day with this app:  Local weather.  Now when you open up the app, at the top in the Headlines section you will see the local temperature as well as the forecast high and low for the day.  You will also see an icon next to the temperature to indicate if it is sunny, raining, snowing and other weather conditions.

The updated version of the app is in the Google Play Store now and it is version 3.4.6 for those keeping score at home and if you already have the app installed on your phone or tablet, you should see the OTA update shortly.

In addition to the weather information, Google has also improved the article layouts in the app to improve loading speeds and performance.

Google Play Newsstand – Free – Download Now

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Google Play Newsstand Update Brings Sports Scores

Google Play Newsstand Sports

Google has dropped an update to the Google Play Newsstand app into the Google Play Store today that brings a new ability to keep track of news and scores from your favorite teams right from within the app.  The update is version 3.4.4 for those keeping score at home (get it?  Score?  Sports? Work with me people) and is available for Android phones and tablets.  If you aren’t familiar with Google Play Newsstand, it is the app that serves quite a few purposes for users. It is news collector from a wide range of sources from major news sources but also is a place where you can search specific topics and of course subscribe to magazines through the Play Store.  The idea is that it is a one-stop shop for all your needs and periodicals and this update will help it achieve that goal.

Google Play Newsstand – Free – Download Now

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