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Quick Review: NewsFlash Aggregates The World’s Headlines

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Even though I do most of news consumption in Instapaper, Twitter, and Zite these days, I still enjoy getting up to speed with "real news organizations" every once in a while. The majority of time that means getting to fire up some Italian website that delivers news (such as Ansa) or "big media" publications from the US, depending on what I'm looking for in that particular moment. Just as I was wondering why some sort of "Techmeme for Italy" doesn't exist yet, an email dropped in my inbox pointing me at NewsFlash, a new universal app by Sollico, the same guys behind CurrencyPad for iOS.

NewsFlash is basically an RSS aggregator for the major news sources in the world -- that is, some sort of "Techmeme for Italy only" for more countries, with "big media" websites aggregated by default and no relevance algorithm in the backend. In Italy, you can have news from the likes of Il Corriere Della Sera or Ansa; in the U.S. you'll both find Reuters and Msnbc alongside TechCrunch and MacRumors. The app, in fact, is organized in sections that range from News and Politics to Sports, Technology and Gossip, providing a way to quickly change the topic you're looking and get the facts, or at least what's been written, about the latest news. It's like Techmeme meets MacHash meets Tech News Tube meets Google Reader, only in a clean, intuitive app for iPhone and iPad.

The app obviously allows you to share stories via Facebook, Twitter (iOS 5 integration is supported), email and text message. NewsFlash doesn't always load a website's mobile view when jumping to stories (and that can actually be a good thing), but it offers font size controls and options to block ads and links to third-parties. News can be updated with the typical pull-to-refresh gesture, whilst a top toolbar is used to switch between countries and sections through a single swipe. Currently, NewsFlash comes with support for the following countries: Italy, UK, US, Germany (both in Deutsche and English), Japan, France (both French and English) and Israeli. The app's preferences allow you to hide certain sections and add custom feeds (you can add literally anything that supports RSS, turning NewsFlash into a simple RSS reader), adjust fonts and change the app's background. I like how the app automatically looks at your device's language and tries to load news from that country.

NewsFlash is free, but you can disable iAd with a $1.99 in-app purchase. Give it a try if you've been looking for a nice app that aggregates "general" news, whilst keeping your real RSS subscriptions in a standalone Google Reader app.

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