Coming from a long tradition of providing quality news-reporting over the course of the last century, the venerable New York Times is not one to fade easily into legacy newspaper oblivion. This week, it was announced that the Gray Lady will be re-inventing itself with a new personalized news service, called News.me.
However if you want a sneak peak as to what shape the new product will take, unfortunately a visit to their Web site will only provide you with this curious enigmatic honeycomb logo image.
Partnering with Betaworks, CEO John Borthwick indicates that News.me has been in development for six month and won't be ready to launch publicly until end of the year. According to the NY Times, what is known about the service is that the concept will follow in the footsteps of the Los Angeles Times' Newsmatch, a feature which learns readers' tastes and interests to create a personalized page of content.
However, if all this makeover does is replicate Google's 'personalized news' content feature, it wouldn't appear that this innovation in ground-breaking. Then again, Betaworks will be able to integrate APIs such as the popular desktop client Tweetdeck, Chartbeat's analytics service and the Bit.ly URL shortener. So if News.me is developing an access to 'relevant' tweets coming through the Twitterstream, perhaps they might be introducing something of interest to its readers.
According to Michael Zimbalist, the media company's vice president of research and development, the app that the News.me is developing will "abstract… a vision of how social sharing and the real-time Web are going to influence the news consumption experience… (so) we decided to develop a prototype that we thought was illustrative of where the world was heading."
However, social news aggregation is also being developed on other fronts, and the newly made-over NY Times might have some stiff competition. Ironically, according to a NY Times report, iPad app are also able to surface relevant links and Facebook "likes" from the Social Web and the new iPad app Flipboard, which transforms social media feeds into an attractive, easy-to-read layout is scaling significantly with iPad users.
SRI, the research institute that recently sold a virtual personal assistant called Siri to Apple is also building its own Flipboard called Chattertrap. While still in Beta, the Web-based news-feed actually uses artificial intelligence to monitor what people are reading and adapts content to their interests.
With Facebook's Open Graph curating preferences across the Web, it is easy to see why the Gray Lady and others are so anxious to develop products and services that accesses and integrates social media real-time news. So while the Gray Lady might be a little late to the party, perhaps being 'fashionably' late might garner her a little attention when she finally does arrive.