Google News & Weather (Free) by Google, Inc. is an app that wants to be your go-to source for comprehensive and personalized news and weather. If you enjoyed other news apps like Gist and Yahoo News Digest, then this is another one that is worth taking a look at.
It shouldn’t be surprising — I’m a news junkie. Ever since I began to pursue journalism for my career, I do nothing but read or watch the news. Whether it’s tech-related, current events, or whatever (just not big on politics), I love learning something new about the world. I’m always looking out for new ways to get my news on the iPhone, so when I saw that Google came out with News & Weather (a nice bonus), I had to check it out myself.
The design of News & Weather is surprisingly nice, considering that this is from Google. I’m a fan of Google’s services (I use them daily), but I always thought that design wasn’t exactly their strongest point. But with News & Weather, the app is minimal and elegant looking, and everything’s laid out in an organized and intuitive manner. After you grant it access to your account and location, you can dive right in to the content.
If you’re logged in to a Google account on your device already, then News & Weather will ask you if you want to use it (or any of the ones you’ve added if there are multiple ones). You can switch accounts later if need be. Unfortunately, like any other Google app, you will need an account in order to use the app. So if you don’t trust Google with your information, then you won’t be able to use News & Weather. The location is used to gather the weather data, as well as local news.
The layout in News & Weather is simple and straightforward. The top will feature a weather banner, with the current conditions and a four day forecast. You can toggle Fahrenheit or Celsius units with a tap, and reveal a 12-hour graph of temperature and precipitation levels if you want more data. You can also add multiple locations to get weather data and news.
Underneath the weather banner will be various sections for news, with “Top Stories” always present. You can quickly jump to another section or edit sections by accessing the side panel menu with the “hamburger” button in the top left corner. Another option is to go through each section one-by-one, and this is done by swiping left and right to go through them in order (rearrange the order in settings).
The headlines in each section will also tell users the source, how old the news is, and even include a thumbnail image when available. The app should refresh the news items that are available when you return to the app later on, but you can also manually refresh by doing the pull-to-refresh gesture.
If you find something you want to read more about, just tap on the headline bar and it will take you to the link in the in-app browser. But there’s also another thing you can do — tapping the arrow button on a topic reveals related links. This means a wide assortment of news (in-depth articles, opinions, even local perspectives) on a topic is available to you at any time.
Even though the app covers the basics by default, sometimes that just isn’t enough. That’s why Google allows you to add your own topics to the section list, and this is done by tapping on the “plus” button near the top. You can add a new topic or even location. The new topic option lets you search for a specific term or query, and you can save it with a custom name.
The button in the top right corner with the dots brings up a menu that gives you the option to change editions (based on country), remove and manage sections, switch between the dark and light theme, and hide or show images.
I love reading the news, so I love what Google has done for this app on iOS. The layout is uncomplicated, the font is legible, the data is accurate, and there’s a ton of content to go through as the day goes by. I just wish that the app had a Today widget available for weather and top headlines, as that could come in handy. The weather part could be more informative and include other data, such as humidity, wind speed, and more — right now it’s just the essentials. If the app addresses all of these in the future, then it would be the perfect news app for me.
Still, I highly recommend checking out Google News & Weather if you haven’t already and are a news junkie like me. You can find it on the App Store as a universal download for free.