The Breaking News app for iPhone is breaking new ground in the world of personalized mobile news alerts.
An update to the app, released today, adds a new feature called “proximity alerts” that uses location data to send push notifications to users when major news stories are happening in their vicinity. The feature, which is also in the works for the service’s Android app, is triggered in the event of “major stories that have a high likelihood of impacting you directly, according to a post introducing proximity alerts.
The feature has been tested by the Breaking News service in New York City, with the East Harlem building collapse in March. “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,” the post explains.
It continues, “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.”
The feature, believed to be a first for a mobile news app, is part of a broader overhaul of the Breaking News iPhone app.
Breaking News is a unit of nbcnews.com, the former msnbc.com, developed in Seattle.