Living Stories is Google’s Way of Telling Murdoch to ‘Buzz Off’


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Google News now features a new feature: The Living Stories project. Launched while I was at SES Chicago earlier this week, it is an experiment in presenting news in the online environment that was developed by Google in collaboration with The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Google Living Stories lets you read the same reporting and analysis that you expect from The New York Times and The Washington Post, delivered on a highly interactive platform. Google is providing the technology platform, the journalists from the Times and Post are writing and editing the stories.

The idea behind Living Stories is to experiment with a different format for presenting news coverage online. Check out the YouTube video below that provides a 2 minute, 35 second overview.

Google Living Stories

In a post on the Official Google Blog, “Exploring a new, more dynamic way of reading news with Living Stories,” Neha Singh, a software engineer, and Josh Cohen, a senior business product manager, wrote, “There’s been no shortage of talk recently about the ‘future of news.’ Should publishers charge for news online? How do they replace lost sources of revenue such as classified ads? How will accountability journalism endure? And, even more fundamentally, will news survive in the digital era? These are questions we’re deeply interested in, and we’ve been exploring potential solutions.”

Last month, I wrote about News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch threating to block Google Google from being able to search its Web sites in “Murdoch to Google: Drop Dead.” I did follow ups in “Microsoft-News Corp. Talks: A Marriage Made in Hell?” and “Google to Murdoch: Here’s Your Hat, What’s Your Hurry?

At SES Chicago 2009, we heard a lot about this subject in the opening keynote by Jeff Jarvis on Monday. And on Tuesday, Barry Schwartz of RustyBrick and Marty Weintraub from aimClear covered one of the sessions devoted to this topic: “Real Time SEO: No More Yesterday’s News from SES Chicago ’09.”

And yesterday, I added some related comments of my own in “Editor & Publisher Magazine Shutting Down After 108 Years.”

So, it’s been a busy, busy time in the field of news search.

But consider the different strategies being used — as well as the different tactics.

Murdoch is talking to Microsoft and using his bully pulpit as a business celebrity to blame Google for stealing snippets of “his” news stories. Google, on the other hand, is working with The New York Times and Washington Post continuing to innovate.

James Barksdale, former CEO, Netscape, once said, “The outcome of the battle between the alligator and the bear depends upon the terrain.”

Well, the terrain in news search is shifting. And Living Stories is Google’s way of telling Murdoch to “buzz off.”

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