An interesting presentation by Alexis Lloyd, Creative Technologist in the NY Times R&D lab, on profound shifts occurring in user interaction and product design in news media.
So what does working in the NY Times R&D Lab entail? Here’s how Lloyd defines its mission:
The R&D Lab was founded about 4 years ago, and our mission is really to look around corners, to foster innovation at the company by researching technology trends and projecting outward anywhere from 18 months to 2-5 years. And we design and prototype ideas for what future interfaces for news media and content might look like.
Cool. The rest of this post highlights key messages from Lloyd’s talk, and is broken down into 5 sections:
- Introduction (this section)
- Trend #1: From one (or a few) to many Devices
- Trend #2: From a Web of Pages to a Web of Data
- Trend #3: From static web to Real-Time Web
- The Future of News
From Static Publishing to an Interaction paradigm
Lloyd says that if she had to boil her entire presentation down to one sentence, it would probably be this:
The web is shifting from a publishing paradigm to a paradigm of communicating.
And this is having profound effects on the way we understand, experience, and create content.
The old paradigm
First, Lloyd presents the traditional publishing paradigm:
In the old paradigm, information was at the center, and people actively seek it out. So you have a website, and people make this pilgrimage to your website to experience your content.
The new paradigm
Then, the new publishing paradigm:
Again from Lloyd:
In the new model, people have shifted to the center of this equation. And more and more often, content and information is getting pushed to them rather than them actively going and seeking it out. Which really changes how they experience it, how they interact with it. And furthermore, those arrows are now moving in two directions a whole lot more. So not only is content being pushed to users, but they’re increasingly broadcasting it and creating their own content and pushing that outward.
This new paradigm (or model) can be described in terms of three profound shifts. They are:
- From one (or a few) to many Devices
- From a web of pages to a Web of Data
- From static web to Real-Time Web
These three shifts are described in the following sections.
A very nice treatment of using Twitter and Twitter lists to create Local Real-time News Feeds by Pat Kitano at Media Transparent. Here’s the presentation on SlideShare:
Related blog posts from Pat Kitano are:
- Building a Breaking Community News website with Twitter Lists – November 2009
- Hyperlocal Curation of Real Time News – November 2009
Definition of a Signal (in the context of the real-time web): A real-time pulse of information that is ideally strongly-typed with embedded semantics.
Many Signals can be aggregated to produce intelligence that, ultimately, a receiving Agent can act upon.
Just musing …
Just stumbled across a fantastic gathering of industry luminaries on all things Real-time Web – the Real-time CrunchUp event in November 2009 in San Francisco. Here are a few of my favorite sessions.
From RSS to Realtime, a conversation with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo
Starting off, TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington and Steve Gillmor interview Google CEO Dick Costolo:Vodpod videos no longer available.
Here’s the interview summary on TechCrunch.
Filtering the Real-time Stream – Roundtable
Next, a round table discussion around filtering the real-time stream:Vodpod videos no longer available.
The panel of heavyweights in this roundtable include:
- Chris Cox – Facebook, VP of Product
- Amit Singhal – Google, Google Fellow
- Loic Le Meur – Seesmic, CEO
- Edo Segal – Futurity Ventures, investor/entrepreneur
- Ken Moss – CrowdEye, CEO
- Lili Cheng – Microsoft, GM of FUSE Labs
- Bret Taylor – Facebook, VP of Platform
- Jason Hirschhorn – MySpace, Chief Product Officer
- Jason Shellen – Thing Labs/Brizzly, CEO
- Kimbal Musk – OneRiot, CEO
- Ron Conway – Angel Investor
- Jason Hirschhorn – MySpace, Chief Product Officer
I thought Chris Cox’s comments on the initial conceiving of Facebook’s Newsfeed was interesting. He said when they started working on Newsfeed:
[We] began with the metaphor of a Newspaper, because it was an attempt to present information from a bunch of different sources in a way that understood from a reader’s perspective what was important and what was interesting … and to imagine if the newspaper were just a stream, and the Sports, and Comics, and Headlines were all inter-mixed and just flowing down.
You kind of know that wouldn’t work. So there’s this balance to strike between the Newspaper which you get everyday, and the flow of everything that’s happening as it’s happening right now.
I find Chris’ comments interesting, as they position the (or a) future of digital news as incorporating a flowing stream of real-time news data, customized to a user’s interest, where one of the signals is the relevance of the content as determined by a user’s social graph. It points the way to potential dramatic changes in the UI for traditional news sites.
Googe Fellow Amit Singhal commented that these are very exciting times in data managing/mining, because the volume of data has exploded with the real-time Stream. Four components that are new in the equation are:
- the real-time nature of the stream
- the massively increasing volume of the data
- the user’s Social Graph
- geo-location information
Again, here’s TechCrunch’s summary of the discussion.
Geo Streams: We Know Where You Are, Right Now
Finally, a panel discussion on real-time geo.Vodpod videos no longer available.
Again, an awesome panel including:
- Matt Galligan, co-Founder of SimpleGeo
- Ryan Sarver, Director of Platform at Twitter
- Tristan Walker, VP of Business Development at Foursquare
- Steve Lee, Group Product Manager Google Maps for Mobile and Google Latitude
- Justin Shaffer, Founder of Hot Potato
- Elad Gil, CEO of Mixer Labs
Just watching the video now, and will provide some brief comments later. Here’s TechCrunch’s summary of the panel discussion.
With the explosion of interest in Twitter, there’s been a fair amount of buzz about the Real-time Web. Here’s some links of anyone wants to learn more about this topic:
- Real-time web – Wikipedia
- Introduction to the Real-Time Web – ReadWriteWeb, May 2009
- Betting on the Real-Time Web – Business Week, August 2009
- Google Falling Behind Twitter – The Guardian, May 2009
- Sorry Google, you missed the Real-Time Web! – ReadWriteWeb, January 2009
- Real time web at Davos – YouTube, January 2009
- RSS shows its age in real-time web – Scobelizer, December 2008
- Real-time Web Search could be Facebook’s Future – Tim Conneally, August 2009