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Flutter and Google News Initiative are helping publications create mobile apps

The Flutter team has partnered with the Google News Initiative on a “toolkit” to help news outlets quickly and easily build their own dedicated mobile apps.

Google has long sought to encourage the growth and diversification of journalism through the Google News Initiative. Through this program, Google partners directly with media outlets while also providing general guidelines to help publications get built up to a consistent standard.

At the Flutter Forward event, the Flutter News Toolkit was unveiled as the latest project created in collaboration with the Google News Initiative. Considering phones are often people’s primary news sources, it’s essential for publications to offer a great mobile experience, whether through an app or a responsive website.

Importantly, a dedicated mobile app can help keep readers engaged with a particular news outlet, while also creating the potential for new revenue. However, it’s no small task for a small- or medium-sized media company to create a dedicated mobile app, especially one that works consistently across Android and iOS.

That’s where Flutter comes in clutch, being a massively cross-platform app development framework. Going beyond the simple convenience of simultaneously developing for Android and iOS, the new toolkit includes a suite of templates, pre-made solutions, and other guidelines to help fast track the creation of a news app.

  • User onboarding: re-engage your audience with push notifications permissions; acquire ad tracking permissions
  • Account creation/login: authenticate through your platform and user social networks (such as Google login); create passwordless accounts
  • Content feeds and content pages: display news articles, videos, pictures, ads, and newsletter sign up prompts
  • Monetization: easily add subscriptions and different ad formats
  • Search: allow user searches for articles by keyword or click into popular searches 
  • Settings: allow user preferences for notifications, login, and ads tracking

Notably, these tools aren’t solely useful for news media apps, and there’s nothing to stop a developer from taking advantage of the Flutter News Toolkit for a different style of app. To that end, Google notes that one company has already used these tools to create a better newsletter experience and suggests a social media app could also use these templates.

Google initially opened the Flutter News Toolkit to a handful of publications around the world for early testing. Three such news outlets shared their impressions of the Flutter News Toolkit during the Flutter Forward event.

If you’re interested in getting started with the Flutter News Toolkit, it’s now publicly available for all developers to use as they see fit.

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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