Get your local news Fwix here

by Caitlin M. Foyt

Fwix brings local news about as close to home as you can get.

The app for your Android phone works as a hyper local news aggregator, compiling news from the various news sites, blogs and area TV stations, and posting them to a real-time local news feed.

Fwix works by using your phone's built-in GPS system to automatically detects where you are, and then gives you access to news stories that have the most impact for that location.

By using an automated algorithm, the app does its best to select content that users will find to be most relevant. And while the app does have a pretty good selection of various kinds of information, both stories that are more mainstream and under-the-radar kinds of happenings, these algorithms aren't perfect.

The app lists news items, but it's not smart enough to differentiate between what's relevant and what's not.

For instance, I live in Los Feliz, Los Angeles, which happens to be near Hollywood. In the mix of stories about an upcoming art exhibit and a recent crime, there were also a handful of stories about Hollywood as the film industry, not as the neighborhood. There was also the occasional "Dog Opens Refrigerator"-like article, which didn't have much to do with anything local.

I wish the app would learn what kind of stories I'm interested in.

One thing that's neat about Fwix is that any news item that relates to a particular place is marked on the map.

The app also has "Events" and "Places" tabs that you can use to find fun, local things to do. "Events" lists some of the pubic events happening in the next 24 hours. "Places" gives you an idea of what restaurants and businesses are nearby, their address, phone number, website links, hours of operation and reviews. These locations, too, are pinpointed on the map.

The app's mother site, Fwix.com gives users access to more than 150 cities across North America. The bummer about the mobile app is that it's limited to just six cities: San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle. It would be nice to see this service become more widespread within a few updates.

The app works well, looks good, and is based on a pretty brilliant idea. It could use a little bit of polishing to make it stand stronger and become more of a noteworthy application.

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