Google News added the ability to pin hot stories to a special "starred" page where you can go back and find the latest updates at any time. It's a simple but elegant feature that makes the service a lot more interactive and useful.Want to track a hot story being covered by multiple news outlets? Today
Stories on the front page can be starred as well as story clusters that appear in search results. The resulting page of starred stories becomes a fully customized news tracker. There are plenty of other features that could be added, but this is a great start.
Starred stories appear to move up and down the page of saved clusters according to how recently they've been updated. The richness of coverage that has surfaced around topics of interest is one of the primary differentiators between this and other services like it. This feature is similar to one that Google News added in November, called "Sections" - essentially saved keyword searches.
What This Means
This morning we discussed the possibility that Facebook's push towards becoming a news feed reader was likely to find far more mainstream success than Google Reader's dedicated RSS reading technology has. This new feature of Google News could become the news reader of choice for many people, though, because it encompasses so much coverage of key issues and doesn't work in a simple reverse-chronological way like the syndication method of subscribing on Facebook.
Newser lately, where you can find very succinct summaries of top news stories, written by human beings, published in short paragraphs with links. I'm also a fan of Regator a Web and iPhone app that's all about the company curating top blog sources on a wide variety of niche topics. Google's Living Stories project with the New York Times and the Washington Post is also quite remarkable as well. Google Fast Flip is getting a lot of use, too.There are a wide variety of ways that news could be served up to people in the future. Google News today personalized its algorithmic approach. Facebook appears to be promoting its syndication and subscription approach. I've been enjoying the new iPhone app from
All of these are accessible, innovative and interesting ways to deliver the news to readers. Will some models work better than others? Are some better suited for different circumstances and tastes in a reader? Will there be enough financial support in the news delivery market to allow multiple models to flourish long term?
There are many questions that a news technology like this tries to answer. At a time when traditional news outlets are under serious threat of extinction, we can at least be happy that there is a rich ecosystem of new approaches being developed every day.
Disclosure: ReadWriteWeb is a syndication partner of the New York Times.