Information is always changing. Every second there are lots of articles completed & published somewhere in the world. It can be really intimidating to sort out the good from the bad, the news from the junk, and the hot from the not.
While Google News does a really good job of aggregating news from all over the world, from multitudes of sources, the presentation of that news leaves a lot to be desired. After all, information is only useful if it is consumed and assimilated quickly.
Newsmap, a free online news reader, hopes to make that process easy for the masses. It uses an innovative interface to deliver the freshest news from across the planet.
First of all, head over to the Adobe Flash website and get a hold of the latest Flash Player. This is because the Newsmap free online news reader uses flash to render its interface.
Next, head over to the Newsmap website. Don’t get intimidated. There is a lot of information within this page. Essentially, it is organized chaos. You will only get to understand it better once you’ve used it for a few days. The first thing that you’d want to do is set up an account, so that Newsmap remembers your preferences. Click “Register” at the top left corner of the page and fill out a simple two-field form to become a member. You’ll need to confirm your email address before you can continue.
After verification of your email address, you can start using Newsmap. Make sure you set Newsmap to remember your password to skip signing in every time you access the site.
After you have logged in, click on “Customize” at the top of the Newsmap interface to customize your reading experience. You will be greeted by a gray box with various customization options.
The first thing you’d want to do is set up your news sources. So click on the ‘News Sources” tab in the Customize screen. You will be presented with a long list of countries, from where you can procure news updates. Select the ones that catch your fancy. Do note that Newsmap presently gathers news from Google News only. We can hope more sources will be added in the future (although has Google left out any sources?)
Next up, you’d want to change the look and feel of your Newsmap. Go to the “Main” section of the Customize screen to do so. You will reach four sub-sections, one each for “Start Up”, “Fonts & Colors”, “Articles”, and “Preview Popups”. You will also get a list of latest announcements from the Newsmap team to the right hand side of your screen.
Next up, check (or uncheck) the Hide Clicked Articles option. As the name says, this will hide articles as and when you click on them.
Finally, configure whether or not you want previews of news items when you mouseover on them. If you do want previews, check Display Previews. However, if you don’t want the associated images (which sometimes makes the site appear slow), uncheck Display Images in Preview. Finally click OK to save your settings and return to Newsmap.
Now, at the bottom of the page, you will see various news categories, such as World, National, Business, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, and Health. Each of these categories are color-coded and these colors help you jump to news items from a particular category very quickly. After a bit of time using Newsmap, your eyes will become accustomed to hunting for your favorite colors on the map.
The color of a news item determines what category it belongs to. The intensity of that color determines when that news item was published. Brighter colors mean fresher items. The size of the news items give you an idea about how popular the item is on the Internet. Depending on your settings, hovering over a news item will provide you with a small popup with a preview and an image. Clicking on the news item will take you to the source website.
At the top right side of the page, you can always use the search box to search for particular keywords and get news results for those keywords only.
So there you have it! An entirely new news reading experience. Once you get used to Newsmap, you may never want to return to more conventional methods of news hunting. My only grudge with Newsmap is that it doesn’t let you customize the feeds from which it is pulling the news (but that might just be the point).
If you’ve got any other radical ways in which you juggle news, share it in the comments. In the meantime, you can also check out 5 Great Multi-Source News Websites.
Image Credit : stock:xchng.
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