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Mobile news apps are dying, but texting is the future, Purple CEO says

Purple runs a messenger bot that texts its users with news about politics, tech and (how meta!) other bots.

Courtesy Rebecca Harris

Unless you work for Snapchat or Uber, people probably aren’t downloading your app.

On the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, Purple CEO Rebecca Harris said media companies should take a closer look at the messaging apps that are already in everyone’s pockets. Part of the recent wave of "bot" software, Purple texts its users every day with news and information about politics, science/technology and other messaging bots.

"App overload, in general, is an issue," Harris said. "I download apps all the time that I use once and then kind of forget about or never use again. It’s really difficult to get someone to not only discover an app, but to habitually use it."

Hence, the messaging bot: New updates come in automatically and users can respond with certain key words to get more information.

On the new podcast, Harris also talked with Recode’s Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Lauren Goode about why Purple tries to be both conversational and non-partisan. The trio also answered questions from our readers and listeners about the intersection of politics and tech, including Hillary Clinton’s private email server and Donald Trump’s Twitter savvy.

Listen to Too Embarrassed to Ask in the audio player above, or subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn or Stitcher.

Thank you to everyone who sent in their questions about politics and tech. You can tweet your questions, comments and complaints about any tech topic to @Recode with the hashtag #TooEmbarrassed. And be sure to follow @LaurenGoode, @KaraSwisher and @Recode to get alerted when we're looking for questions about a specific topic.

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  • Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with the movers and shakers in tech and media every Monday. You can subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
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