Today, FLUD, the social news reader that allows users to read, bookmark, and share personalized news, is announcing an agreement to offer premium content in its mobile applications from six AOL brands, including The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget, The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Spinner, and Joystiq. (Disclosure: TechCrunch is owned by Aol.)
When we last covered the startup, it had just raised $1 million from a host of angels and VCs, including Cleveland Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert and ePrize Founder Josh Linkner, through their new venture fund Detroit Venture Partners as well as Ludlow Ventures and Behance Founder Scott Belsky.
At the time, FLUD Founder and CEO Bobby Ghoshal told us that, though the app aggregates news feeds and thus nominally competes with news apps like Flipboard and Pulse, FLUD has been working towards the goal of reducing reliance on RSS by building content partnerships with top publishers and news networks.
According to Ghoshal, with this new partnership established, FLUD users will now have access to full content from AOL in FLUD’s apps with a clean text view, quick loading time and access to articles as soon as they are published.
For FLUD to compete with its big-time rivals, another important goal has been to offer a service that is both device and platform agnostic. While the app has been available on iOS since earlier this year, FLUD recently released its first Android app. Just as with its iOS applications, when a user first loads FLUD, the app automatically aggregates news from a wide variety of popular news websites, which users can then add to by choosing from an array of websites by name, topic or URL, or by adding RSS feeds from Google Reader.
FLUD is going for a more attractive and seamless news reading experience, and its value proposition is that readers can add as many feeds as they like, populating the app’s clean template through featured feeds or a simple keyword search, automatically creating a clean, magazine-like page with news from your chosen site. If you have a handful of publications that you peruse daily, FLUD is a great option, as it does a great job of eliminating the feed mish-mash inherent to the mobile news reading experience.
With a good-looking Android app and premium content from Aol’s top content brands, FLUD is definitely making some moves that make it an attractive alternative to Flipboard and Pulse (especially considering that Pulse recently scored a content deal with ESPN.)
Now the startup just needs to work on pushing out functionality that adds that real peer-to-peer, social component on top of the traditional news reader — not just by relying on social networks to share, but by incorporating location-based services to serve readers with hyper local news and deals. Also, look for a web app to drop within the near future as FLUD continues to round out its service and push for differentiation in a crowded market.