Feeds

Google teams with papers on net news 'experiment'

Living stories for dying companies

Top three mobile application threats

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." ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
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
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.