Tag Archives | The New York Times

Google’s Bloggy New Approach to News

At Google’s unveiling of its new real-time search yesterday, a questioner in the audience asked Marissa Mayer and other Google honchos whether the launch signaled the end of journalism. Um, no. Actually, Google is in multiple ways a force for good when it comes to the news. And here’s one small but interesting example: It’s working with both the New York Times and the Washington Post on something called Living Stories. It’s an experimental new way to organize multiple articles on one news topic–here’s Google’s video explanation.

What strikes me about Living Stories isn’t what’s new about the idea, but what’s (relatively) old about it: It takes reverse-chronological display and other presentation concepts from the world of blogs, and applies them to a specific ongoing news story. Here are the Living Stories currently available in Google Labs.

Makes perfect sense to me: Every news story worth paying attention to is an ongoing news story, and putting everything in one place with the newest stuff up top and older items summarized below makes enormous sense.

It’s jarring when you think about it: We’re a decade and a half into the online news era, and most online news sites still feel more like newspapers than unlike them–they’ve got a home page that feels like a front page, and sections that feels like…sections. Projects such as Living Stories (and the NYT’s Skimmer view, which officially debuted last week) are interesting takes on one of the many challenges that faces news organizations: Bringing all the goodness of newspapers online, then remixing it in ways to go far beyond what dead trees could ever do.


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Windows? Laptops? They’ll Never Catch On!

What’s the most wrongheaded conclusion anyone ever came to concerning computers? I covered three of the most legendary ones–“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home,” “640K should be enough for anybody,” and “I think there is a worldwide market for maybe five computers” in The 25 Most Notable Quotes in Tech History. But there’s no evidence that IBM’s Thomas J. Watson said the first one, Bill Gates staunchly denies saying the second one, and DEC’s Ken Olsen and his defenders contend that the last one is him being taken out of context.

But here are a couple of seriously silly statements that can’t be disowned–because they appeared in columns in the New York Times in the mid-1980s. Both are by the same guy, Erik Sandberg-Diment (who certainly wasn’t always obtuse–he was visionary enough to found ROM, one of the best early magazines about personal computers). Between them, they add up to one of the least accurate takes on the future of computing that I’ve ever read.

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