There is a search bar at the top of the app that expands to display a trending news section, topics, and news sources. Searching recommends topics to follow, news sources, magazines, and individual stories with the matching phrase. Conveniently, the search bar auto hides when scrolling
The navigation drawer has been replaced with a white bottom bar that features icons for Library, Explore, Read Later, and For You. Those sections were previously accessible from the drawer and for the most part remains the same in version 4.0. Oddly, a drawer still exists to access settings and to enable the download only mode.
“For You” completely replaces the more general “Read now” with recommended articles based on your interests. Suggested content comes from your web history and is similar to the cards found in Google Now. “Briefing” lists the “Top stories you need to know” and will send notifications for an overview of the news every morning.
Underneath are personalized Highlights, featured topics with articles curated by editors, Local Stories, and Editor Picks. Mixed in are articles about topics you’ve shown an interest in and related articles. The former stories are usually from the publications you frequently visit.
Individual stories exist as cards that feature a big header image, a YouTube video from the post, or auto-playing clips. Each card lists the title, publication, and has buttons to Read later, open the share sheet, and an overflow menu. That menu contains the ability to hide stories from publications or recommend seeing fewer stories, as well as seeing more from the site and topic.
Compared to other news apps, Google’s has a big advantage of being able to offer truly personalized content from your browsing habits. I already find Now cards to be very on point and expect Play Newsstand to be the same.
For comparison, the previous version (3.5.3):