Brighten Your Day With Some Good Noows

In a world where news breaks every minute, some can find it hard to catch up on all the sources they want to follow. Good Noows is another app that takes your favorite feeds and organizes them into a special layout (although this time you get a choice of what layout!).

Good Noows is a personal news reader that pulls in your favorite news feeds to a layout of your choice. Some critics have touted the service as being a viable alternative to Google News whilst others say that Good Noows is a fresh face to your news.

Good Noows is a web app that can also be integrated into Chrome especially via the Chrome web store. But do you want to use it over the many other RSS readers available?

First Steps

Initially, you’ll need to login to Good Noows via an already existing service: either Google, Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. Then, you’ll be able to setup your feeds which are brought in via the service or from Twitter. Good Noows already populates a list of popular sources in a variety of categories such as technology, lifestyle and satire.

Setting up is fairly easy, but not as easy as some rival sources.

Before we look at any other steps, let’s start with the first — installation. As a web app, the steps we just talked about cover installation and this is possible in most (I haven’t tested it, but I am doubtful of it’s usage in earlier versions of browsers, especially Internet Explorer), if not all, mainstream browsers. However, the app is also available as a web app in the Chrome Web Store.

Once you’re signed in with sources set up, you also get the choice of a number of visual styles to organize your feeds in to. These include the magazine style layout you’d expect to see, in addition to some new ones like a stream a la Twitter, stock ticker and Gutenberg letters. These offer a refreshing alternative to some of the standard views, especially as you can change the layout to match the frequency of posts your sources publish.

"Executive Ticker" is one of my favorite visual styles.

Pricing & Availability

Good Noows is a purely free service that offers no premium, paid accounts. However, it will require either a Google, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account. Other than Twitter, there’s no direct integration into these services away from simply logging in. Fortunately, all of the aforementioned services are free so there’s no cost there to worry about.

My name doesn't seem to be in the dictionary...

Using Good Noows

Perusing Your News

Good Noows has an unfortunate stance on letting you read your articles. Whilst it offers a nice interface for perusing your news articles in brief, there’s no option to view the full feed content in-app. Rather, you need to click through onto the publisher’s website to view the post at length. However, this is nothing especially new as those who use Twitter as their news browser of choice have this necessity already.

Correction: Daniel, from ZNet Labs, points out that you indeed can view full feed content in-app, “You need to activate it in the Settings menu.” Thanks for the correction Daniel!

In this sense, Good Noows only acts as a link aggregator as apposed to the full-on experience that rival services such as Google Reader offers. Obviously the amount of content you get to see in-app is over that of Twitter and changes depending on the visual style you choose in the setup menu. Style such as “Front Page” offer more content than the likes of “Tweet Stream”.

Google Translate has deep integration, which is unfortunately sporadical at best.

Good Noows also integrates directly with Instapaper so you can save articles for later reading and you can share them via the Meebo integration to Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo!, Google Buzz and via email. You can also filter the news to a specific site’s content and on a whim.

Google Translate sees a direct integration too, which allows you to translate articles to a number of popular modern languages. This works fairly well, but in our tests, some articles were left out, even if their titles were already translated. Wide translation is limited to article content too, as the interface translation feature is limited to five countries: English, German, Spanish, French and Italian.

Additional Features

Away from the main features, there’s a few extra that we should cover here. A feature that I always see as a definite plus is the ability to change text size, something which Good Noows allows via the simple plus and minus buttons built in. There’s also a selection of sorting options from popularity according to PageRank or to the publish date. As mentioned before, you can eliminate all but a certain site’s content to view.

There's some extra feature such as sorting, filtering and altering text size too.

You can also create tag filters on specific words and turn those filters off and on very easily as well.

Meebo… urgh!

I’ve already expressed my personal distaste for services like Meebo to some people; not necessarily of the wider Meebo service, but those bars that appear on the bottom of sites. I don’t think it’s fair to judge Good Noows’ decision purely on my dislike of those “features”, but I also don’t think this is the most elegant solution to what they want to achieve.

Connecting via Meebo doesn’t seem relevant to the site and I’m not a fan of overlays when you want to share something. I much prefer rival services’ integration with simpler methods like the Tweet button.

Final Thoughts

So, if you’re still with us, you hopefully understand some of our primary thoughts on the Good Noows service. It doesn’t quite seem to be a viable alternative to Google Reader and the integration of Meebo and “Linked Accounts” seem somewhat unnecessary, especially as some add no additional functionality whatever.

However, Good Noows has a strange attraction with a simplistic interface and its nice options to customize the overall experience to a number of visual styles. It’s free, and those not in the Google ecosystem, or without a Twitter account, should definitely consider this service.

Something that does shock me is there’s no mobile site or app similar what Google offers and the only direct integration seems to be via the Chrome web app store. It’s stunning to think that the potential of this multiple visual style approach hasn’t already made its way onto the iOS or Android app store a la Flipboard.

So, if you’re looking for a free, easy way to view your content, Good Noows may be for you.

Have you used this service? What are you’re favorite features of Google Reader or other rival services? Let us know in the comments.


A viable contender to Google Reader with a great "visual styles" feature that makes browsing your feeds refreshing and dynamic. It does well what it claims to do, so we can't ask for much more.