Mobile news startup Circa is releasing a new version of its app with an updated interface for discovering and following news, with a big focus on breaking news. The app will allow users to get push notifications for the biggest news stories, and provide a new way to get updates on all the biggest happenings going on. Oh yeah, and did I mention that it’s also being launched on Android?
The new version of the app represents a major evolution for Circa, which has sought to provide its users with all news they care about, without the fluff. A lot of that effort in Circa 2 has been around how to get users breaking news as it happens, and to keep them abreast of updates as they happen.
The problem with breaking news on many apps, according to co-founder and CEO Matt Galligan, is that many times an app will send users a push notification of big news before there’s anything more than a fragment of a story written. It’s then up to the user to remember to go back and try to pick up on what’s happened since he last visited. And sometimes, the updates are listed in reverse chronological order, putting the news information first. And that’s far from an ideal way to read news.
While the app has always had breaking news, Circa 2 is introducing alerts through push notifications as that news happens. Like other news apps, Circa will break the news and then add updates as they happen. But unlike some other apps, Circa will allow users to follow the story as updates happen. And since the app knows the last thing users read about a story, every time they open the app and go back to it, the app will take them back to where they left off, so they can read updates in chronological order.
In addition to its big push around breaking news, Circa 2 has refined the way it shows story timelines and has improved the way that users can share and follow the news that matters to them. It’s also updated elements within stories, such as pictures and maps – and it provides the ability to link through to other stories to get more information about a certain news story.
But the biggest part of the release for Circa might be its availability on Android devices, after being iOS-only since inception. The Adroid app will open Circa up to a whole new group of users, but it’s not just a port of the iPhone version, according to Galligan.
While the core Circa experience will be the same, there are certain features that are meant to take advantage of the platforms openness, while appealing to Android users. For instance, the ability to swipe left and right to navigate between stories. The Android app will also allow users to follow breaking stories directly from notifications.
As for iOS users – the new version of the app has been optimized for iOS 7 with an updated look and feel that matches the new operating system. All in all, it’s a lot cleaner and fits Apple’s new, flat design aesthetic.
Circa has raised $1.65 million in seed funding from investors that include Lerer Ventures, Advancit Capital, Menlo Ventures, Quotidian Ventures, and a whole bunch of angels that you’ve heard of.