Jan 7, 2010
Google is partnering with prominent newspapers in the US to help make the content they provide more relevant to users. This new format moves well beyond the formula of providing the same content from a print to the screen with the addition of some images and a social media mechanism. The new format, the Living Story, is a much more contemporary approach to online news. Beyond the pedestrian inclusion of video assets and link sharing tools, the living story, as the title indicates, is in a constant state of change.
Reading a living story allows the user to view provided content within the branded channel and also see related content from the same source, from other authors and content providers. Once an outside link is visited, it falls from the selection options unless that same story is updated. Video and multimedia pieces are also managed the in the same way. What this provides is a single URL that provides a broad range of coverage and becomes more robust as the story grows.
In tune with the needs of savvy users, the story can be tailored by the users and viewed from a number of perspectives. A user can choose to read the story in summary, from a chronological perspective or from a sub-set topic. Based on user interaction, related articles and posts are noted as relevant or not as relevant and fall from prominent position in the interface.
As with many other news services, users can leave comments for others to read. Persons making comments of note can also be elevated in position and shown as relevant contribution to the living story. Google labels the sources of the components making up the story as well. Any Opt-Ed pieces are marked clearly as are any unofficial contributors.
Currently, there are only a few stories available in the Google Labs stable. This is the most impressive evolution of the newspaper industry I have seen. It is very easy to envision how a solution like this might be leveraged on a device like the rumored Apple tablet or similar device.