Google Open Sources Living Stories; Donates to Wikimedia

Experimental news platform opens to wider audience while Google tests ethical boundaries with Wikimedia donation.

Last year, Google News launched Living Stories into Labs. The concept is to put breaking news stories in context of their greater story. For example, knowing that the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts made the Superbowl has greater significance when you consider the awesome seasons both teams had leading up to the big game.

Living Stories launched as a handful of stories that were hand-edited by the staffs of The New York Times and Washington Post. This really shouldn’t have been a stretch for these traditional journalism staffs, as many publications keep organized notes on stories for easy-access context on any story as it returns to the news cycle.

Now, Google is releasing open source code for Living Stories. This means web developers can use the code to enable the Living Stories platform for third party websites.

In light of this, it comes as no great surprise that Google has donated $2 million to Wikimedia, which of course is the entity behind Wikipedia. Many Wikipedia entries, are essentially Living Stories. Check out the entry for almost any athlete that has won a gold medal at the Olympics and you’ll see that their page is already updated and you’ll get a life history of the athlete.

Of course, Google likes to display Wikipedia entries toward the top of their search results. So, this donation cozies right up to the line of ethical boundaries.

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