Times Wire: New York Times Experiments With Real Time News, FriendFeed Style

Earlier today we wrote about the new version of the Times Reader desktop app, notable for swapping out Microsoft’s Silverlight technology for Adobe’s AIR platform – a significant win for Adobe over its RIA (Rich Internet Apps) rival. The New York Times has followed up by debuting another online news reading product. This one is called Times Wire and it aims to be a real time ‘river of news’, taking a large leaf from the book of Twitter and Friendfeed. The site is described as “a new layout of New York Times news in reserve chronological order.” It updates every minute with the latest news and blog posts from across NYTimes.com.

Times Wire readers can choose to view the full stream of content from across the site or just the Business & Technology section. More interestingly, and much like FriendFeed, users can customize their view from their favorite sections and blogs. Times Wire also features a photo gallery, displaying the latest news in pictures.

Times Wire is the first NYT product built with its own Newswire API. The product will be officially launching tomorrow with a tab on the NYT homepage, but you can see it in action now.

Times Wire is a useful new product and shows that the NYT is actively tapping into two big trends on the Web currently: real time information and personalization. The ‘river of news’ format isn’t as overwhelming as it is on the new FriendFeed page, where a torrent of content will scroll past the bewildered user in the blink of an eye. I blinked a lot of times over the course of a couple of minutes before I saw an update to the ‘All News’ section in Times Wire. This is probably a good thing for a news site, because people need at least a bit of time to digest news.

The New York Times is proving itself to be a leader among the big newspapers in not only keeping up with the latest Internet trends, but sometimes extending them. This particular product probably won’t be hugely useful for the general public, it seems more like a product that info junkies (like bloggers) and newshounds would enjoy. But it’s definitely a worthwhile experiment.

Disclosure: The NYTimes is a syndication partner of ReadWriteWeb.

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