Notify, launched for iOS in the US only, provides users with real-time alerts on news, weather and sports
Smartphone doesn’t buzz enough during the day? Facebook’s got you covered.
The service isn’t part of Facebook, but an entirely new app designed entirely around lock screen notifications, which then feed through to other sources.
Users can fine-tune a list of 72 sources, such as the New York Times, The Weather Channel, and Fandango Movie Clips to deliver updates. Sports notifications, for example, can be narrowed down to certain teams, or Bloomberg alerts by company.
At the moment, Notify is only available for iOS in the US App Store, although if it is successful it is likely to reach more platforms and countries. Other Facebook apps, such as Paper, never made it further than that.
“We’re excited to explore this evolving medium with participating sources,” Facebook said.
The app counts among the latest attempts from large technology companies to provide a form of news service, which also includes Apple News, Google’s AMP and Facebook’s own Instant Articles. Notify’s reach is broader than simply news, with the social network highlighting sports scores, weather, image flashbacks and others, most of its partners are publishers.
Users are able to curate a list of sources for notifications, which they can open from the lock screen via the web, or share, save or dismiss them. The app also has a feed of the last 24 hours of notifications for any that you miss.
“Notifications are becoming one of the primary ways people first learn about things wherever they are,” Facebook said, introducing the app, which was rumoured last week.
Outside of the main Facebook app and Messenger, Facebook has had some trouble seeing its other apps, such as Paper, Slingshot and Rooms, get much traction. Notify, however, won’t require a user to open it, simply set up an initial list of appropriate sources.
Whether users will want to have yet more notifications – alongside email, messages, social media, other news apps, phone calls and more – remains to be seen.
The benefits to Facebook of introducing the app are less clear, since it is distinct from the social network’s core service, although it could increase sharing.