Friday, August 6, 2004

Life with NewsBot: When will Publishers Get the Hint that News Search Engines are a Real Opportunity?

It's been about a week since I've started using Microsoft's NewsBot as part of our headline-gathering routine here at Shore, and while the results are somewhat better than their earlier U.K.-based beta version, it still has a ways to go before it can be called ready for production. It does a remarkably good job now on finding at least a couple of highly relevant news links in the first several stories returned, but after that the depth of results tend to fall off much more quickly than similar services from Google and Yahoo!. The user interface is also somewhat immature, with links for cruising to addtional pages of results downright difficut to click on, but the NewsBot home page has some nice features for mining community interests and personal views. NewsBot is getting much closer to being a competitive service, which raises the pressure on publishers who would like to ignore this trend in news aggregation all the more. With the three major English-language portals pushing for automated news aggregation with generally strong offerings, when is it going to dawn on major publishers that it's a good thing that search technologies allow individuals to build their own news streams to their own satisfaction easily and effectively in ways that they cannot replicate easily within standalone editorial sites? Enterprise portal providers have been doing this with their news for years, so it should be no surprise to them that consumers and individual professionals would want that kind of functionality for their benefit. The world is a database, and it's up to premium pubishers to place their content in the flow of that database in the most accessible manner possible. Monetization can be a central part of that picture, but as long as search engines are seen as an external threat and not one of the key opportunities for news providers moving forward they will yet again be leaving the door open to new sources of content that can do better in an open marketplace.
Post a Comment