Mobile devices are the center of a news consumption trend - lifestreaming. Google and Yahoo are entering this scene with tools for readers to curate their experiences with, and new branding opportunities for publishers and advertisers.

The realm of “lifestreaming” is becoming crammed with startups that want to offer the most elegant, relevant way for mobile device users to curate their own news feeds. Category leader Flipboard pulls stories from specified blogs and folds them into a crisp interface with a magazine’s gloss for the iPad, for example. Proving that this category is really generating interest, larger Internet players Google and Yahoo are creating their own products.

Branding opportunities with social readers

This trend of curating content and turning it into personalized magazines with glossy looks also comes with opportunities for publishers and advertisers especially as Google and Yahoo! will be launching those products on tablets. Livestand is Yahoo’s platform that will take publishers’ material and “easily deploy it on the most popular tablet devices.” They plan to gain usership from their site and service members that purchase tablets. Google’s Propeller - an HTML5 reader for the iPad and Android - a similar product, will no doubt leverage Android tablets with integration with other Google products, certainly Reader and Google+. These products will possibly be taking pages from already released Flipboard or services such as Memolane, Zite or Pulse. Livestand and Propeller will thus offer brands and publishers new opportunities to access their existing massive audience as they adopt tablets. Social media magazines and other similar readers allow for beautifully integrated interactive and immersive advertising. Flipboard also recently announced that it was bringing brand advertising to its product, starting with prestigious partners Wired and The New Yorker.

A bet on user familiarity for a smooth user adoption

This trend can be seen as a way to mainstream products that have appealed to more of the Internet power user type - those who collect RSS feeds and curate their own experience. As these products are easier to use and integrated with Internet users’ preexisting usage patterns, the barrier to entry is lowered, and the learning curve is as well - possibly even eliminated. Familiarity is being bet on to encourage the adoption of these usage habits - Facebook does it all the time whenever it tweaks its homepage. With the social network’s Timeline, the concept is similar, but with the emphasis even more so upon the consumer - this and other companies are treating their members’ lives as news stories to be followed and subscribed to much as people do with blogs and news sites.


By Ivory King