CNet Japan Startup Award nominees: Mobile news services Gunosy and Smartnews

CNet Japan Startup Award nominees: Mobile news services Gunosy and Smartnews

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This is part three of our CNET Japan Startup Awards nominee rundown. The rest can be found here.

News aggregation apps are a dime a dozen in the US. There’s Flipboard, Pulse, Circa, Prismatic, Zite, Summly, News360 and the list goes on. In Japan, there’s News Hub, @nifty, and now LINE News as well.

Smart News (pictured below) resembles US-based Pulse, where content is segregated in tabs by category. The content comes pre-loaded but feeds can be added. After using Smart News, the experience of Pulse seems clumsy in comparison. The load times are also significantly faster on Smart News than on Pulse.

smartnews
Smartnews

I want to say Gunosy (pictured below) is the Flipboard of Japan but the only similarity is their popularity. Gunosy’s interface and content is structured like a newspaper, and there are tabs for the AM edition, PM edition and a location-based, real-time trend tab.

Articles are separated in large, easy to read boxes with prominent call-to-action buttons. Like Prismatic, Gunosy curates content based on machine learning. It displays the kind of stories the user has liked, shared, or clipped in the past.

What really sets Gunosy aside from all news aggregation services is its approach to ads. The service separates ad types into three categories: business, fashion, health/beauty, and then behaviorally targets based on user habits. The sign-up and onboarding process for potential advertisers is automated and simple. They are one of, if not the global leader in this category 1.

Regarding both these news services, I’m really happy to see such a high calibre of product comings out of Japan.

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  1. Gunosy’s ad service launched in November. We recently spoke with new Gunosy team member Shinji Kimura, who elaborated more on this aspect of their business. ↩

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Mona Nomura (もえ/@mona) was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and lived in NYC for 11ish years with a short stint in LA. Raised by an MIT grad and engineer, love for technology runs through her DNA. She began her career as a product manager for Oracle, then fell into content strategy and digital marketing for music / entertainment properties. She's always had one foot planted in tech, mentoring and advising startups. She recently moved to Tokyo and enjoying life in Japan for the first time. If you see her at any events, don't be afraid to say hello. 日本語Okです!