Feeds

Google teams with papers on net news 'experiment'

Living stories for dying companies

Application security programs and practises

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." ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
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
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.