19-Year-Old Squad Founder Pavan Kumar NR's Immodest Goal: Change the Way Clients Read News
Even in a world of conspicuously young tech CEOs, Pavan Kumar NR stands out. On Thursday, the “Student ambassador,” as GigaOM’s Om Malik dubbed him, launched the second, totally revamped version of his news-media based social networking website, Squad. It was also his 19th birthday.
Squad aims to solve a rather large problem, the less-than-ideal way people read news articles on smartphones. As news organizations find their feet with Internet publishing, many have strained to adapt content developed for computer screens to mobile devices. “So people are just skim-reading the headlines and no one is actually standing in line or on the phone and going, 'I want to read this whole story,' scrolling through a 1,500-word article.” The new social networking website was created with two key advantages over the usual way people read news on the smartphones, which is in a web browser. First, Squad, like the name suggests. The original Squad condensed articles into bullet-points; its latest iteration summarizes articles into text that has the flow of natural language. This means no wait time to download news snippets -- unlike on mobile web browsers, they’re all there. With Squad, a user is able to access a newspaper’s worth of “articles” from dozens of publications for browsing, even without Wi-Fi. Obvious care went into the minimalist design and functionality of the website. Squad total roughly 300 characters is available under customize topic tiles.
After tapping to get to “Technology” one swipe to get between loaded. A swipe upward takes a user to the publication’s website, a tap allows for sharing on social networks, and a double-tap takes the reader to a longer summary. Therein lies the rub Squad. Why go to news websites if all the most relevant information is on the website? The Squad team says it's received a warm reception from news organizations.
Pavan Kumar NR