Scattered Images of Instant Information

Google News has a new feature that tracks the viewer’s news-reading history and recommends subsequent articles based on past interests. Project leader Krishna Bharat says the new approach substitutes for previous efforts to get users to create their own personalized profiles. “Many users don’t have the time to specify exactly what they want,” Bharat writes in Google Blog.

I saw this in Paid Content which added the question: “Does this mean we’ll now see text ads in Google News?” I would ask two additional questions: is not editing a function where human judgment has value; and who’s going to gather news if ‘Net distributors continue to siphon ad revenues from media firms that pay today’s hunter-gatherers (including moi)?

In an interview with the Mercury News CBS Digital President Larry Kramer said: “I definitely think people want judgement … .In the news gathering, in the news operations, the magic is still a combination of things.” Ultimately, however, we may find that Google has distilled that magic into a mathematical formula. As for my second questions about who pays, well, that’s not Google’s problem.

Meanwhile, across the pond, the London Review of Books examines David Vise’s, “The Google Story” and offers this pronouncement: “Putting all this together, we reach the conclusion that, on the one hand, Google is cool. On the other hand, Google has the potential to destroy the publishing industry, the newspaper business, high street retailing and our privacy.” Well, thank you, London, for that example of human judgment.

So you wanna be in pictures: Media Post reports that “Atom Studios will provide funding and guidance for five filmmakers, and then host the finished product on … Projects will be selected specifically for content that will play well online and on mobile devices–short films with fast pacing, mainly in the comedy, action, animation, and sci-fi genres, with “edgy and extreme” subject matter.”

Echo chamber: Interesting bit via Poynter about mass media amplifying the power of blogs by linking to them. The onservation originates in a National Journal article that contains a (very) brief list of congressional leaders who blog. It would have to be a breif list. Political speech is, of necessity, careful and measured, while the tenor of the blogosphere begins at snarky, heads past edgy and often proceeds right over the top. Maybe congressional blogs will help break up the phlegm that seems to congest political discourse. Hey, come to think of it, a dose of that same medicine wouldn’t hurt mainstream media.

Tom Abate
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media