News, as we know is always location specific. It is its scope that alone takes it from being local to the headlining as national or international news. We are fed on a constant diet of news from all the media channels that surround us. Reading news on a map is just another interesting take on the way we consume news.
Earlier, we had caught the news on a world map with 7 map-based news aggregators. The “news story” would have perhaps ended there where it not for Hubii(Beta). Hubii is another aggregator which deserves to go to the top-of-the-class when it comes to map based news mashups. We had taken a brief look at it before, but considering the richness of its feature, let’s take a broader look at world news and the way Hubii pinpoints it to locations around the world.
Hubii gives you a better perspective of news
Hubii gives you news on a Google Map. But it is more than simple news displayed in a layer above a map. As you can see from the screenshot below, Hubii is a news browser which displays breaking headlines on one side of the display, and a Google Map that shows the concentration of news publishers with the help of blue markers. Any news that is clicked opens up on the right.
Hubii keeps loading the latest news and the publishers from where it is sourcing it in the background. You can use Hubii as a passive news browser i.e. you don’t have to go and fetch the news. But if you really want to fine-tune the way you want to use Hubii, then Hubii gives you the map, filters and more.
What’s with the map?
The Google Map displays the publishers (the news sources) in each location. You can zoom into a location and click on the marker to check them out. Selecting them in the pop-up box, displays the news they have lately published. You can subscribe to each individual publisher if you want. Your Hubii account handles your subscriptions. Of course, some publications have paid subscriptions, and that will require you to follow their policy. If the map doesn’t display any publisher you know of, just click on Contribute, and add one by providing the URL for the publisher’s RSS feed.
Personalize the news you want with Mapfilter
You can also use the search box at the top to search for a specific location and get what’s happening there. But Hubii’s Mapfilter gives you a few focused ways to really personalize news for your reading pleasure. As you can see in the screenshot below, I have used the Mapfilter to select news from blogs, magazines, corporate news, and newspapers. I have limited the categories to tech developments and sports…two topics I am interested in right now. The Timeline helps you keep stale news out. Each news item is color marked according to its category.
For want of space, I couldn’t expand the Language filter, but the choices you have at your disposal pretty much covers a lot. Clicking on a news item opens it within the right frame. You can click on Read later if you want to line it up for reading.
Keep an eye on the news
The Eyenew tool on Hubii shows you a heat map and a topic cloud. It is just another visual way to look at the news from around the world. The heat map shows you the concentration of news that’s getting published.
While with the Search Cloud, you can see what the world is reading or writing about.
Create your own Mapazine
This is where you manage the publishers you have subscribed to. You can personalize your Mapazine by adding and deleting the news sources from the list of publishers. As we saw before, it’s easy to subscribe to location-specific publishers from the map with a single click. You can view all news according to categories with the help of the floating toolbar at the bottom. Mapazine also saves your searches and any news item you had marked for reading later.
Hubii is a very systematic news aggregator and reader. The controls are snappy and news aggregation is pretty swift. You can also add your own sources with Contribute. Do all these features make Hubii a worthwhile news application to have around? Tell us in the comments.