Introducing the Flutter News Toolkit — now accepting applications
Be among the first to launch news mobile applications with the Flutter News Toolkit
The way we consume the news has changed considerably over the last twenty years. Market research suggests that US smartphone users spend 88% of their time using apps versus mobile web browsers. However, for news publishers that are often resource-constrained, mobile apps can be difficult and costly to build.
Building a high-quality mobile news app is a major undertaking: you want to include a rich reading experience, great navigation and search, authentication, ad integration, notifications, profiles and subscriptions, and a tailored design experience. Moreover, you have to do all that for multiple platforms (such as iOS and Android), continue to update your app with the latest features, and keep multiple products in sync. This is a tremendous effort for large news organizations with a portfolio of brands and for smaller publishers who can’t afford to staff large app development teams that specialize in each platform.
We’ve invested in helping news organizations solve this problem, using industry best practices and a powerful new toolkit from Google.
Introducing the Flutter News Toolkit
We’re excited to announce that Google’s Flutter team is partnering with the Google News Initiative (GNI) to release a free toolkit that allows publishers to create mobile apps on iOS and Android faster by reducing the app development time up to 80%.
The Flutter News Toolkit is an easy-to-use template on which a news organization can build an app and includes blocks of sample code for common user interface and app functionalities.
We worked closely with industry experts and news publishers across the world to understand the most critical features and user workflows for a news application, and incorporated the best practices from News Consumer Insights to help you achieve higher reader engagement and meet financial goals through the Flutter news toolkit.
The Flutter News Toolkit includes critical features such as:
- User onboarding
- Account creation/login
- Content feeds and content pages
- Social sharing
You can use these pre-integrated features out of the box, or easily modify and swap them with other functionalities that you prefer.
Early adopter of the Flutter News Toolkit
One of the Flutter News Toolkit’s early adopters is Hespress, which is one of Morocco’s largest news sites. Hespress had been wanting to reach more audiences by creating a mobile application targeting English speakers, but didn’t have enough resources to get started. With the Flutter News Toolkit, Hespress was able to finish the entire application development within 6 weeks and they have recently launched their app Hespress English.
“The Flutter News Toolkit was intuitive to work with and customized to look and feel like a proper Hespress app,” says El Guennouni Hassane, the General Manager of Hespress. “It contained all the core features, sections, and layouts that would be required for us. It helped us save months of development and optimized the whole process of revamping our English app while maintaining one code base instead of two.”
Apply now to access the Flutter News Toolkit
As we roll out the Flutter News Toolkit, we are offering limited spaces to publishers who are interested in launching news mobile apps within the next 3–6 months. This program is open for application to all publishers across the world and in any language. We will be expanding our program over time, but here are some benefits you will get by joining now:
- Access to all of the source code and a step-by-step guide for the Flutter News Toolkit for free
- The ability to modify, delete, or add new features as you wish
- Assistance from Google in launching your custom app in the Play Store and Apple Store
- The opportunity to be featured in Google’s marketing materials
Please fill out the application. We’re accepting new publishers in batches as we refine the product before launching to general availability in the coming months. We look forward to helping more news organizations expand their digital presence, establish audience relationships, and build sustainable business models with diversified revenue streams.
What is Flutter?
Flutter is Google’s open source UI toolkit for building beautiful apps for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase. Flutter significantly reduces the time required to build and publish an app. Today, Flutter is the most popular cross-platform development framework, with over 3 million developers around the world. There are more than 500,000 Flutter apps, including Alibaba, BMW, Google Pay, PUBG, Shein, and Wechat.
Is Flutter easy to learn?
Yes, for developers who have knowledge of other programming languages such as Java, learning Flutter is quick. Besides, we have a wealth of learning resources available for you to get started.
Can I use other non-Google services such as Ads, analytics, and subscriptions in the app?
Of course! The Flutter News Toolkit only aims to provide a sample. You are not required to use any service you don’t want. In fact, it is easy to remove or swap the existing integrations with other services. For example, if you want to use non-Google Ads services, you can find other packages on pub.dev.
How much work am I required to do to launch the app?
While the news template can lower the barrier to entry for building news mobile applications, this solution still requires Flutter development work. The template doesn’t support no-code or wysiwyg functionality or tools (such as dashboards) for non-technical users to modify the app branding and styling.
We have mapped out the deployment process at a high-level with an assumption of 2–3 Flutter engineers working on the project. As an example, early adopters like Hespress finished their application development within 6 weeks.
If I don’t have an in-house development team, how can I use the template?
We can recommend Flutter agencies who can help you take the template to the finish line. As a disclaimer, Google is not associated with these agencies, and we do not take any revenue share from them.