By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The Globe unveils a new app for tablets and smartphones

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.39.13 AM

The Globe‘s new iPad app. Click on image for larger view.

Thursday update: Significant second-day glitches. Shortly after 7 a.m., the most recent edition I could get was Wednesday’s. Then the app started telling me I needed an Internet connection, even though WiFi was working fine. Finally, a few minutes before 9, the problems seemed to be fixed.

Change isn’t always a disaster for The Boston Globe. This morning I clicked on the Globe‘s iPad app, which is based on a replica of the print edition. And the app was automatically overwritten by an entirely new version that looks much more like the ePaper available on It also seems to be a welcome improvement.

With the new app you can download the entire day’s paper (the only option with the previous version) or read it online. You can share articles on Twitter, Facebook, or other social networks, which represents a substantial upgrade. Tap on a story and it loads in a computer-friendly reading format. One refinement I’d like to see: when you click to make the type bigger, it should stay that way so that you don’t have to do it with each story.

The improvements aren’t dramatic, but overall the app feels more solid and complete.

The new version is also available for iPhone and, I suppose, those Android things as well. The previous version carried the miLibris brand; the new one is unbranded, though I see the company is still touting its relationship with the Globe. So maybe this is an improved miLibris product. (Or not; see update.)

The replica edition is not my favorite way of reading a newspaper. But loads slowly on my iPad, and every so often I like to see what the paper looks like in print. Given the Globe‘s ongoing problems with home delivery, if you like print and have an iPad, you might want to give the new app a try.

Update: Former Globe digital guy Damon Kiesow reports that the new vendor is PageSuite:

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  1. tobe berkovitz

    Dan, how does it compare to the WaPo app?

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Tobe: Good question. They’re not directly comparable. The Post’s “classic” app includes an option to switch to the print edition. The functionality is basically the same as the Globe’s, but the Globe is noticeably faster. The other Post app is very different — essentially a digital magazine aimed at a national audience. The newspaper metaphor disappears.

  2. Bob Keough

    Two days in, I am not a big fan. I don’t use an iPad, but on a smartphone, this is not a great app. I do like that it downloads, so you can read offline (one objection I had to the old web-based responsive-design, which otherwise worked fine on my old Android phone), but downloads are much slower than, say, the NY Times (~2-3 times longer on wifi, many times more than that on cell connection, on my brand new iPhone 6s). But on a phone, the ePaper format is useless, and just an unnecessary (and unwanted) obstacle between me and something I can actually read. I really don’t get why the Globe, now on its third (or more?) iteration, keeps avoiding the obvious, which is to mimic the app of its former owner.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Bob: It is a total mystery to me why the New York Times and the Washington Post, which have great apps, don’t license the technology to smaller papers.

  3. Bob Keough

    I agree – but just as much of a mystery why papers like the Globe, and their app developers, don’t just try to do what they do. Why reinvent the wheel when you can just copy it?

  4. John Shriver

    It’s much worse than the miLibris app on iPhone. Very unreliable, things don’t work as expected half the time. Sometimes I can click to read an article in plain-text, and sometimes I can’t. Unpredictable. The zoom is ridiculously limited, it’s essentially impossible to read the comics on an iPhone. (This is totally consistent.)

    • Dan Kennedy

      @John: I thought it worked very smoothly the first day, including on my iPhone. But I agree that it hasn’t lived up to expectations.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @John: I’ve been pretty dissatisfied with the iPad experience. This morning I used it on my iPhone for the first time since a brief test on the first day. Weirdly, I thought it worked very well. I’m not wild about an iPhone app based on a replica of the print product, but other than that, it was fast and smooth.

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