Facebook has finally confirmed recent rumours and released Notify as its new standalone app to deliver real-time, Twitter-like news notifications on mobile devices. The app uses push notifications for delivering news content right on the lock screen of mobile devices.
Similar to Apple News and Google News & Weather apps, Facebook's Notify news app allows you to read news content from over 70 mainstream publishers that include ABC, Bloomberg Business, BuzzFeed, CNN, Comedy Central, Discovery, Fortune, The New York Times, Quartz and Time among others. The app also has Facebook integration to let you receive station suggestions based on your profile in addition to the pre-loaded list of stations.
"Notifications are becoming one of the primary ways people first learn about things wherever they are. Today we are introducing Notify, a new app from Facebook that delivers timely notifications about the things that matter to you, from the sources you love, all in one place," Julian Gutman, Facebook's Notify product manager said in a press note.
One of the features that makes Facebook's Notify app a bit different from other news apps is the ability to deliver news content on the basis of specified sub-topics and categories instead of all the content from selected stations. This means that you have the option to select sub-topics after selecting a station like Bloomberg Business or The New York Times on Notify app to receive only specific news alerts right on your lock screen.
Once you have selected the stations and sub-topics on Notify app, it will start sending push notifications. You'll need to either swipe the notification to see more details or simply tap through the notification to open the entire story right on the app's browser. There you'll see the full article based on the notification along with multimedia content like videos and pictures, if available.
Facebook, at present, does not offer advertisers or marketers the option to serve their advertisements through the Notify app. However, the model to deliver news through push notifications certainly has room for some sponsored content. This would be defined in the future.
An edge over Twitter's notifications
Apart from receiving news through push notifications, Facebook's Notify app allows you to share your favourite notifications with friends via text, email or social networks right from your lock screen. In addition, there is an option to save notifications and read them in future through a Saved Notifications list. The notifications that are sent through the app in the last 24 hours are available through the list. This gives an edge over Twitter's notifications.
All in all, Facebook's Notify app appears to be an advanced and standalone version of Instant Articles, a feature that the company introduced in the recent past. Although you may observe some similarities with Twitter, Facebook integration and the option to choose sub-topics for notifications make the app a completely different package. Moreover, California-headquartered Facebook has a user base of over 1.55 billion that would help the app gain initial success.
Initially exclusive on iOS
The app is initially available for iOS devices in the US with the official name Notify by Facebook. It will be available on Android and some other platforms, as well as reach worldwide markets sometime in the coming months.