The rush is on to fill the coming void that will be left when Google Reader closes on July 1. That change has also brought attention to news readers that turn plain text lists into appealing photo-centric feeds designed for smartphones and tablets.
Feedly and Flipboard have garnered most of the attention, but if you're a news junkie, you're going to love Taptu, a social newsreader that comes with more options for fine-tuning your newsfeeds than others and offers a nearly inexhaustible reservoir of content.
While these features can make Taptu more complex to set up, the extra effort results in more useful news. Say you're an avid baker and photographer, and want to keep up with industry news. You can create three separate news streams and break them down into smaller, more specific streams, such as baking bread and baking cakes.
Taptu also offers a search-by-keyword method to find new sources, but this feature didn't quite pan out in our tests. As promising as the keyword search tool sounds, it only works for topics that Taptu has already created. Say you want a stream about drones . Taptu suggests websites that have covered drones in the past — such as USA Today, Politico and the Los Angeles Times — along with countless news topics.
Once you've set up your streams, Taptu lets you turn on an automated feature called "magic," which will add content to a stream based on what stories you read.
Taptu also realizes that people make mistakes or change their minds and includes a back button to undo the most recent change to a stream. And similar to adding a Google News Alert that shows a preview before you confirm the addition, Taptu also gives you a preview of an updated stream before you add it to your feeds.
Making Your First Stream
- Once you've downloaded the free app and set up your account, tap the "+" icon at the top of the screen to enter the StreamStore.
- Choose "Categories" to see a list of topics. When you find one you like, tap it to reveal a long list of sources, including compilations already put together by Taptu, as well as individual websites and blogs . Tap the"+" sign to add the ones you want.
- You can keep these sources separate or merge them, a process that's unique to Taptu. To do this, go back to the home screen and choose the icon that looks like three cables at the top center of the page. You'll see a list of the streams you selected. Tap a source to choose the ones you want to combine into a single feed. Tap "merge" again, which will take you to a screen to name your new combined feed and turn on "magic" if you want Taptu to update your stream based on the stories you read. You can also split streams from this page — a reverse process.
While Taptu is a little more complicated than other sites that pull in everything at their disposal on a particular topic, the control you get from Taptu can be helpful for those who have a wide variety of interests and want to keep them separate.
However, if you want to keep things simple, choose your topics, turn on "magic" and forget the merging and splitting.