Get Breaking News on your watch

If you’re thinking about buying an Android Wear watch, your Breaking News app will pair with it perfectly out of the box.

We’ve been playing with the LG G watch, which just shipped earlier this month. After pairing it with an Android phone running the Breaking News app, all our favorite custom alerts appear without any additional setup.

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When an alert comes in, just glance and you’re done. Our short alerts are extremely portable — no need to open it on your phone unless you’re digging for more details. It’s the fastest and easiest way to stay caught up on the news that matters to you.

In the next few weeks, we’ll be launching “proximity alerts" in our Android app, which will work on Android Wear watches, too. So when big news breaks near your location, your watch will warn you. Science fiction? Not for long.

Introducing proximity alerts and much more in the new Breaking News iOS app

We’re excited to launch a powerful new feature that’s a first for a mobile app: when a big story breaks near your physical location, we’ll send you a push alert with the news. We call it a “proximity alert,” and it’s now live in the Breaking News iOS app (Android coming soon.)

Proximity alerts are reserved for major stories that have a high likelihood of impacting you directly, or at the very least, that people around you are wondering what just happened. We’ve tested it with significant earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfire evacuations, train derailments, plane crashes, school shootings and public health warnings.

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(Photo by Adnan Islam)

For example, we tested it with the East Harlem building collapse in March, which spewed a big column of smoke over Manhattan and shut down a key transportation line. Moments after we verified the first reports on Twitter, we sent a push notification to our beta testers in New York City well before any other national news organization reported the news.

As with all of Breaking News’ alerts, our experienced editors are monitoring social media and vetting each story in real time. Now they’re also deciding which geography — from as narrow as a neighborhood to as wide as a country — that will be receiving a proximity alert.

It works internationally, too, and it will follow you as you travel — an invaluable resource even if you don’t use the app for anything else.

Engaging new design

We listened to Breaking News users and added a long list of design enhancements including larger inline photos and videos, infinite scroll, improved map view and easy “tab” navigation: 

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Our popular “Whoa” section — which highlights the stories, photos and video that are deemed the most surprising by our users in real time — has been given a tab of its own.  

We’ve also streamlined the iPad design, dedicating the entire portrait view to the stream, so you can read stories in a full-screen web view. Flipping the tablet to landscape view will reveal real-time data extras, just for fun.

What’s in your watchlist?

We’re also introducing a watchlist, which is an easy way to discover when news breaks in your favorite interests.  Just add topics to your watchlist by tapping the watchlist icon or searching for more.  Here’s my watchlist on the left:

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I’m watching the 2014 US elections and Edward Snowden, two big stories that interest me.  I’ve added tech and media because I work in those two industries. NBC is the company that owns Breaking News. Seattle is where I live, and Ferndale, CA is my hometown.

Whenever there’s a significant new development in any of these topics, it will be highlighted in my Breaking News stream (above right). I can also choose to get push notifications for up to 10 watchlist topics at a time (expanded from 5 after many requests). In my case, I receive push alerts with breaking updates about media, Seattle and NBC.

If you’ve been away for awhile, tap “all watched topics” to catch up on recent updates for all of your watchlist topics.

Beyond your own interests, you can also use your watchlist to gain an edge at work. For example, PR professionals and lawyers can watch their major clients so they can react quickly when news breaks. Lobbyists and activists can track breaking political news in key topics like cybersecurity, LGBT rights and minimum wage.

With over 38,000 topics and counting, Breaking News is a powerful real-time discovery tool. You can use Google Alerts to see every… single… time someone mentions a topic in a story. Or Radian6 to see the flood of social mentions. But Breaking News is the only service that tells you immediately when significant news breaks about a topic, guided by editors you can trust.

Making breaking news matter again

With so many news organizations screaming for your attention, it seems like red “breaking news” banners are a permanent fixture on TV sets and pesky push alerts are the new normal. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We even made a video about it:

Here at Breaking News, we’re working hard to make breaking news matter again by listening to you. From your favorite topics to proximity alerts, we’re getting better at anticipating the breaking news that’s uniquely important to you instead of spamming you with alerts. We give you just the facts you need, faster than any other news app.

Take back your attention and give us a try. We’d love to hear what you think.

Come work for Breaking News!

We have two editorial positions open: one in NYC and another in Seattle.

We’re looking for a Deputy Managing Editor to work at 30 Rock to lead our NYC and London-based editorial teams.  You’re a social-savvy editor who shares our “mobile first” vision, loves to experiment and thrives in a faced-paced news environment.  You also enjoy working in a startup atmosphere where smart editorial and product people work together on hard problems, and you’re comfortable communicating virtually with team members in other cities.  Apply here.

We’re also looking for a part-time contract editor based in our snazzy downtown Seattle office (check out the view).  This is your chance to break into a fast-growing news organization that’s reinventing breaking news for a mobile generation.  If you’re interested in this contract opportunity, email Tom Brew directly at thomas.brew{at}breakingnews.com.

As an independent startup owned by NBC, we have the unprecedented freedom to build amazing new products (our pipeline is full of them) while being supported by a major media company.  We hope to hear from you.

Last month: We’re hiring developers!

Breaking News launches new Twitter accounts

Breaking News is growing, and so is our audience.

We’re excited to announce the launch of three new Twitter accounts focused on some of our most popular topics.

Introducing: @breakingmoney, @breakingbytes and @breakingtravel.

These accounts will be go-to places for up-to-the-minute news about top companies, worldwide markets, technology and the transportation methods that keep you moving. No fluff, just the news that matters — as it happens in real time.

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More than 6.5 million Twitter users already follow our flagship @BreakingNews account, and hundreds of thousands get updates from our @breakingstorm, @breakingpol and @BreakingNewsUK accounts.

The recent launch of our new app and website, with an emphasis on customization, has taught us more about what Breaking News users want, and we’re thrilled to offer another way for people to get the news they care about.

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But these accounts only reflect a fraction of our coverage.

To get more updates on business, technology and travel news pushed straight to your mobile device, be sure to download our app through the links below, search for those keywords in the topics navigation section and hit the ‘alert’ icon (or mute ones you’d prefer to not get updates about).

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(Post by @aaronmedwards)

Breaking News celebrates 1 million Facebook likes

We’re celebrating a major milestone today: The Breaking News Facebook page has passed one million likes! We’ve grown our page organically over the last three years by focusing on what we do best: Helping people find news fast on news sites across the globe.  Along the way, we’ve given news organizations a Facebook boost when they break original stories

To mark the occasion, we thought we’d share some examples of posts that have resonated with our Facebook audience.  Here’s a look at our top five Facebook posts of 2014, as of April 15:

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1.)    Sometimes it’s not what’s breaking but what’s ridiculous that gets our audience going. On Feb. 1, we shared a “you have to see it to believe it” photo of an Ohio man who wished to be buried astride his beloved motorcycle. The photo with story from the Dayton Daily News quickly became our top post of 2014 — and also our top post ever with nearly 17,000 total shares and nearly 300,000 post clicks. For social media nerds: This was our only image post to crack the top five.

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2.)    Our first Facebook post on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was a bare-bones  status update on March 7. This update went on to reach more than 500,000 Facebook users and was shared more than 1,600 times. We’ve shared 26 updates on missing flight MH370 since then. The topic is the most alerted and whoa’d story of all time in our mobile apps.

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3.)    Deaths of notable figures are often the most surprising stories. The death of UK TV personality Peaches Geldof is our third most popular post this year with more than 460,000 people reached, more than 20,000 post clicks and more than 450 total shares.

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4.)    We constantly experiment with our publishing strategies for Facebook. Right now, we’re focused on sharing stories quickly – and posting more of them. A link post on Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget shared just a few minutes after it was released on April 1 reached more than 460,000 people and garnered more than 12,000 post clicks and more than 1,500 shares.

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5.)    Rounding out the top five is another simple status update on the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Since the search began there have been many false alarms as search teams have spotted objects in the ocean or picked up faint pings. We have often posted these initial reports to Facebook to guide users to Breaking News as these reports are either confirmed or shot down.

Don’t have our free apps for iOS and Android yet? Download them today.

(Post by @gracej89)

We’re hiring again!

Breaking News is looking for an Android developer and a back-end developer to join our growing team and help invent the future of breaking news on mobile devices.

As a startup owned by a big media company, we’re the best of both worlds: we’re a nimble team that has the freedom to build what we want, and we have the resources of NBC Universal supporting us along the way.

You can work with us in Seattle at our snazzy new space, or we have office options in other cities as well.  For more information, click the links above to learn more about each job and apply.

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If you’re like us, you’ll be working during much of the NCAA Tournament.  So we’ve made it easier than ever to stay on top of the action with the Breaking News app for iPhone, iPad and Android.

As each game concludes, you can receive a push alert with the final score.  Just set an alert for the “2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament” topic in the app. Whenever there’s any other major developments from the tournament, we’ll send you an alert as well. 

If that’s too much basketball, you can track up to five of your favorite teams instead.  Just search for your schools (i.e. “University of Florida”) and set alerts for each of them.  That way, you’ll receive a push alert the moment there’s a new development with each team, keeping your bracket fresh.

Here’s my (slightly controversial) Final Four picks:

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Open the app anytime to see the latest updates in the Breaking News feed.  Or if you don’t like all this madness, just tap the mute button and NCAA Tournament updates will disappear unceremoniously from the app.

This is just one more example of how you can use Breaking News to track breaking news in any topic as it happens, keeping you one step ahead of the news.

(Post by corybe)

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We dug into the data behind 17 days of Ukraine coverage on the Breaking News app, and it presents a fascinating view of how people personalized a big story over time.

The blue represents when people alerted the Ukraine story, choosing to receive a push notification whenever there’s a significant development.  This group wants to know immediately when something happens, and they activated alerts at high points of the story.  Users set the most alerts on February 2nd when the new Ukrainian leadership said Russia had declared war.

The red represents when people muted the story, hiding subsequent updates from their feed.  This group wanted to avoid the story altogether, and their numbers grew as the story stretched on.  However, you’ll notice peaks in “unmuting” activity — the lighter red — as some of these users decided to resume Ukraine updates as the likelihood of war intensified.

While most Breaking News users are content with getting Ukraine updates in their feed, these two groups illustrate that breaking news means something different to everyone.  In a world where everything is increasingly “breaking news,” it’s our goal to provide a real-time experience that rises above the noise, anticipates your unique needs and respects your time.

(Post by @corybe)

How Breaking News users personalized their Olympics

Thousands of Breaking News users tracked the 2014 Olympics on their own terms, muting stories to avoid spoilers or personalizing push notifications to ping them with results of their favorite events.  We published over 600 Olympics updates in our mobile app, and we thought it would be fun to break down some of the numbers.

Let’s start with spoilers. This graph illustrates when people tapped the “mute” button to avoid seeing Olympics updates, which we posted in real time.  Many users muted as the Games began, but others were more selective, hitting mute before some of the most popular events:

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Leading up to the larger events, we warned users in the app with editor’s notes that our coverage was about to begin, triggering a new wave of muting activity.  Collectively, more people muted the Olympics than any story before it, but the majority of users chose to learn the results in real time.

Users could also set up their own push alerts for their favorite events. The five most popular were figure skating, hockey, skiing, curling and bobsledding.  Curling news alerts?  Yup.

Finally, we compiled the biggest “whoa” updates throughout the Olympics. These are the most surprising stories ranked by the number of users who tapped the “whoa” button:

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With the Olympics behind us, we’ll be publishing new data from time to time that examines how users personalize Breaking News during big stories.  And if you don’t have the app, give us a try.  We believe you deserve a breaking news experience that rises above the noise, anticipates your needs and respects your time. 

(Post by @corybe)