Google Unveils Living Stories: Real-Time, Dynamic News Web Pages

Real-Time NewsEarlier this week, Google unveiled Living Stories, a news product in the early stages of development, and a joint venture with The New York Times and The Washington Post. The idea behind Living Stories is to offer a new way to follow and interact with news coverage that plays directly into the real-time news benefits of the web (The Official Google Blog).

Lance Whitney, Blog Network author for CNET explains:

Each Living Story, whether it’s on health care, global warming, or the war in Afghanistan, has a permanent URL that you can follow. That page displays everything from headlines to summaries to in-depth articles on that subject… You can read the articles, view photos, watch videos, and access a time line for an historical view of the topic… The Living Story keeps track of your activity, so it alerts you to updates you haven’t yet seen and grays out or collapses older news that you may have already read.

Just this week, Google integrated real-time news updates from social media sites into its search, demonstrating a commitment to providing real-time news to its users. Living Stories could have an equally profound impact on the nature of online news search.

In an interview with Alex Pham, Technology blogger for the Los Angeles Times, Josh Cohen, senior business product manager for Google News, describes a Living Story as “a single point of reference” for all coverage of a single topic — compared to a traditional web search for that topic, which can direct you to thousands or even millions of links.

The benefit to users is apparent. But what’s in it for news publishers?

According to Cohen via the LA Times, “it’s a happy union of developing a reader-friendly experience while maximizing a website’s rank with search engines that can drive traffic to a publisher’s website.”

To learn more about Living Stories, check out this video:

SOURCE: “Google debuts news story experiment,” 12/09/09
SOURCE: “Google Labs experiments with news, creates ‘Living Stories,'” 12/08/09
SOURCE: “Exploring a new, more dynamic way of reading news with Living Stories,” 12/08/09
Photo courtesy of sjgibbs80, used under its Creative Commons license.

About David Reich

David Reich is co-founder and CEO of SixEstate, blending a background in traditional marketing and public relations with over 5 years of experience managing hundreds of online marketing campaigns for all kinds of organizations -- from small businesses and nonprofits to public companies. David is responsible for keeping SixEstate and its clients at the forefront of the rapidly evolving search and content marketing landscape. Connect with David on Twitter, Google+ or via email.


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  1. At first blush, I thought they were trying to create their own version of Googlepedia — which is sort of what Living Pages hopefully turns into. But there’s no user-generated content. Readers have the ability to comment, not correct or contribute, but the comments are buried. It’s not very Web 2.0 friendly.

    It appears the only sources of content for these pages so far are a single news source. If you want to know what The New York Times thinks this story is all about, great. But if you want a local or national or international consensus about the story, you’ll want a site that gathers and sifts from many sources.