Google unveils news by topic service

Google on Tuesday introduced a new approach to presenting news online by topic, developed with The New York Times and The Washington Post, and said that if the experiment succeeded, it would be made available to all publishers. The announcement of the “living stories” project shows Google collaborating with newspapers at a time when some major publishers have characterized the company as a threat. Living stories is a much-enhanced version of what some newspaper Web sites already do by grouping material by subject matter. In the case of The Times, the paper’s Web site has thousands of “topic pages.” But those efforts have not yielded heavy reader traffic or much advertising. The Google project, presented without ads, is now at, part of Google Labs, where the company tries out experimental products. If it is judged a success, it would eventually reside on the site of any publisher that wanted to use it. Those publishers could also sell ads on those pages. At the top of each subject page is a summary, a timeline of major events and pictures, followed by the opening sections of a series of articles, in reverse chronological order. A set of buttons allows the reader to narrow the topic. A reader can call up an entire article without navigating away from the subject page, reading one piece after another without using the “forward” and “back” buttons


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