Facebook Launches Notify App With Major Publishers

Trying to out-Twitter Twitter, Facebook on Wednesday debuted a new app that encourages users to subscribe to push notifications from various content providers.

No small side project, the new Notify app is launching with more than 70 big-name publishers, including Bloomberg, Comedy Central, CNN and The Weather Channel.

“Notify makes it easy to find notifications you’re into with a broad selection of great ‘stations’ across a variety of categories,” Julian Gutman, a product manager at Facebook, explains in a new blog post.

Among other stations, Fox Sports is serving up end-of-game summaries for users’ teams of choice; The Weather Channel is sending out daily weather forecasts; and Fandango is debuting new movie trailers as they become available.

As with Twitter, Notify users are expected to select the stations that appeal to them to create their own content mix. At launch, the app is also offering station suggestions, based on users’ Facebook profile information. Notify also encourages users to share notifications with friends via text, email, Facebook or other social networks. 

The launch of Notify comes at a terrible time for Twitter, which is struggling to appeal to a broader audience and maintain its financial health. While the success of Notify is hardly guaranteed, it will certainly compete for the attention of users, publishers, and marketers.

Along with its Instant Articles initiative -- and the recent expansion of its Notifications system -- Facebook is clearly positioning its network of apps as the only one consumers will ever need.

For Facebook, the launch is also part of an effort to enmesh itself within the news-making business. 

Along with its Instant Articles push, the company recently made its Mentions and Live features available to public figures with verified profiles. As such, professional journalists and other public figures can use Mentions and Live to reach Facebook users directly and interact with them in real-time.

Facebook also recently rolled out Signal -- a tool for sourcing, gathering, and embedding content from its flagship network, as well as Instagram. As part of the effort, the social giant is making it easier for journalists to find and use relevant data, including trending topics.

At launch, Notify is only available to iOS users, but an Android version is in the works.

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