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Google Envisions Future of Online News with Living Stories

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In the movie Notting Hill, Julia Roberts plays a celebrity who falls in love with a non-celebrity, played by Hugh Grant. When the press finds out, she's devastated because it doesn't maintain her elite reputation. She tells Grant that reporters will always reference the story and the photos of him answering the door in his underwear. She tells him, "Newspapers live forever."

Google's trying to make that happen with a new collaboration with the Washington Post and the New York Times. It's called "Living Stories," and it takes news stories and puts them in historical context.

When you view news articles through the concept of "Living Stories," you can get the background, timelines and a good understanding of key players.

The display strikes me as a Wikipedia for news stories - except, of course, "professional" journalists and editors (whatever that means these days) develop Living Stories.

Living Stories is being launched as a Labs product. You can access Living Stories here. As of this post, there were eight living stories. Here's a screenshot of the one for "Swine Flu."

googlelivingstories120909.jpg

Google has put together a handy video giving a visual tour of Living Stories. Check it out below:


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