Taboola is out today with an Apple News competitor — but for Android devices.
The content discovery service is announcing a partnership with Android mobile device maker ZTE, the ninth largest in the world, to create a new web-based news recommendation service. The partnership is exclusive with ZTE in the initial four countries — Russia, Mexico, Germany and Spain — and Taboola says it will be partnering with other mobile carriers and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in other countries.
From the wake screen of ZTE devices, the user sees a feed of a couple of dozen of linked thumbnails of news stories, available via swiping through screens. The stories come from publishers in Taboola’s regular network, as well as from a new cost-per-click marketplace that will be available for non-network publishers.
Last fall, Taboola opened a Data Marketplace for third-party targeting data, which it said was the first of its kind for a content discovery service.
Founder/CEO Adam Singolda told me that the news sources are all screened by his staff to ensure they are credible publishers, through the regular screening for the content discovery network and through staff approval of participants in the new marketplace. He said he couldn’t yet reveal the names of the publishers already committed to the new service.
The stories on a given user’s daily feed will be surfaced according to Taboola’s assessment of that user’s interests. If the user has made selections on the main Taboola service previously, that anonymized profile is employed to determine interests. Taboola offers a grid of “you might be interested in these other stories” linked thumbnails at the bottom of articles on millions of sites.
If the user doesn’t have a Taboola profile, the news service starts with hunches about that user’s interests, based on geography, time of day and other general factors. Then a new profile is assembled over time from choices made in the news service.
Singolda said that his company intends to comply with the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), but the specifics are still being worked out.
While there are, of course, other news aggregators for Android devices, he said they were all apps that had to be downloaded. Taboola’s new service comes installed on ZTE devices as part of its operating system.
Also, he noted, many news apps operate like Apple News. When a user clicks on a publisher’s story in the feed, they see the story rendered within Apple News or the app. The publisher has just forfeited some of its relationship with the reader, Singolda said, whereas a click on a story in the new Taboola news service takes the reader to that publisher’s site.