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News Republic filtering app for iPhone and Android offers cure for 'infobesity'

News Republic is a free app that sucks in news stories from thousands of online sources, then lets you keep tabs on the topics and people you're most interested in.

If cats could be swung on the App Store, they'd be hitting hundreds of newspaper apps, all jostling for a space on the homescreens of iPhone and iPad users.

There are plenty of other news apps taking a different approach, however, sucking in stories from thousands of sources with the aim of serving up the ones you'll be most interested in. The latest is News Republic.

It's a free app for iPhone and Android, which promises personalised stories filtered from thousands of news, sport, business, technology, celebrity and entertainment sources.

Listen up: here's the science bit. Developer Mobiles Republic has coined the term 'TagNav' to describe its process of tracking "themes and semantic meanings" for every news story that comes into its system. In other words, they're tagged with keywords.

Tags can relate to topics, industries, people and places, with 120,000 in the system at this point. The idea is that you create your own virtual folders for the tags that interest you.

The Guardian's iPhone app offers a similar feature where you can star topics as favourites, although obviously that's only for its own content, whereas News Republic is doing it across many sources.

TagNav isn't the only hybrid word invented by Mobiles Republic. Here's COO Gilles Raymond, coining a repulsive new term no one else will ever use: "In a world of 'infobesity', people want to receive timely and accurate information on subjects that specifically interest them," he says. "News Republic is all of that."

The app launched quietly in December across Europe, and has already picked up 200,000 users, who've collectively read more than 8 million articles using the app. Here's a quick video demo, accompanied by the kind of moody rawk we always associate with news aggregation:

There are plenty of alternatives if News Republic doesn't float your boat. My Taptu describes itself as a 'social news aggregator', with a similar aim of serving up news from around the web that you might like.

Meanwhile, Pulse News Mini, FLUD Mobile and Reeder are all iPhone versions of much-hyped iPad news-feed apps, putting an iPhone-friendly interface around traditional RSS feeds.