Delivering the News Online in a New Way
The goal of Living Stories is two-fold: to reconfigure the way news is presented online and to develop tools to help news organizations.
The way it works, it offers the reader a succinct summary of the whole story and regular updates, as well as offering a balanced overview.
Users can sign up for e-mail alerts that will go out when a given page is updated. When the page is re-visited, information you've already seen will be grayed out or collapsed so only the newest data is seen. It’s already been published featuring two stories, one in each the Post and the NYT.
Google provided the technology, while the Times and Post's journalists wrote and edited the stories, “continuously collaborating to make the user interface fit with their editorial vision” (according to sources at Google).
What is the reaction? Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post described it as “a new online tool that, well, isn't exactly going to revolutionize journalism,” but then added that by having the stories grouped under Google Labs, “day after day under one Web address, the Times and Post could boost their Google rankings.”
Having Google working with newspapers is good, especially if they are developing the tools that support journalistic endeavors. However, like the Google FastFlip before it, presenting content in different ways lacks a coherent strategy for increasing revenue.