Feeds

Google teams with papers on net news 'experiment'

Living stories for dying companies

The Power of One Infographic

Google has teamed up with venerable US newspapers The New York Times and The Washington Post to create an experimental web-based news platform designed to exploit "certain unique advantages of online publishing."

Dubbed Living Stories, the prototype was unveiled on Tuesday with a post to the Official Google Blog. "We believe it's just as important to experiment with how news organizations can take advantage of the web to tell stories in new ways — ways that simply aren't possible offline," is the word from software engineer Neha Singha and senior business product manager Josh Cohen.

The platform puts ongoing coverage of a particular story on a single page with a single URL, and this page gets updated as new articles are written. "[Living Stories] organize information by developments in the story. They call your attention to changes in the story since you last viewed it so you can easily find the new material. Through a succinct summary of the whole story and regular updates, they offer a different online approach to balancing the overview with depth and context," the post continues.

Certainly, this sort of thing isn't possible offline. But it's hardly revolutionary. A "living story" looks a lot like a web page filled with links news articles, summaries, and a timeline or two:

Google Living Stories

But it tells you what's changed since the last time you visited. And, yes, it's just a prototype. "Over the coming months, we'll refine Living Stories based on your feedback," the post continues. "At the very least, we hope this collaboration [with The Times and The Post will kick off debate and encourage innovation in how people interact with news online."

The idea to make the platform available not only to The Times and The Post but to any other interested publisher. Newspapers would host "living stories" on their own sites.

The platform is yet another small bone Google has thrown to the world's newspapers, which have struggled to fund themselves while watching Google rake in their ad dough using links to their content. Apparently, Living Stories is a way of boosting traffic to papers like The Times and The Post.

According to The Post itself: "By grouping the stories day after day under one Web address, the Times and Post could boost their Google rankings, which would tend to push those pages toward the top of the list when people search for that subject."

If we take this at face value, it would seem that Google, The Times, and The Post could save themselves an awful lot of trouble if Mountain View just agreed to boost the papers' ranking without spending so much time on this semi-interesting prototype. But even if the papers' rankings go up, this will hardly solve the problem. The Times and The Post aren't hurting for traffic, they're hurting for money. A bona fide news organization is an expensive thing, and there are only so many ad dollars to go around.

In May, Susan Waxman - a former correspondent with The Times and The Post - told the world that Eric Schmidt and Google were developing some sort of premium news service. But Living Stories is a far cry from the Waxman's alleged service - a "system that will bring high-quality news content to users without them actively looking for it." ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.