AP covers its own deal with Google in the wake of paidContent.org's tipping of some of the very closely held cards yesterday. Google NDAs are squeaky mum in general, but clearly the movement under way with AP has broad enough implications that they're going to do their best simply to acknowledge that they're working together and to leave it at that. But the key phrase in the AP article tells all: "Google indicated AP's content will serve as the foundation for a new product that will be introduced in the coming months as [a] complement to its popular Google News service." Hmm, let's see, the definition of complement - "Something that completes, makes up a whole, or brings to perfection." Now, what would complete Google News and bring it closer to perfection? Could it be...social news tagging? Could be. And where has AP succeeded already with social news tagging in a growing online community? Well, at Newsvine, of course.
Who's to say what's really up but I'd put at least a few chips down on the Google-sponsored introduction of Newsvine or a Newsvine-like service that helps audiences both to tag news and to create news. Newsvine features AP content as its mainstream anchor for users but allows users to vote on and tag content from any source as newsworthy and to develop their own articles for the Newsvine user community. Though Newsvine's rank and reach in Alexa stats has been fairly constant in the past six months that's not untypical for many social news sites - and like most other social news sites the general trend is gently up.
With a boost from Google exposure the solid features and actively engaged community in Newsvine could act as an amplification channel to provide a mix of automated and user-edited news that will be necessary for Google to take its news service to the next level. Unlike services such as Digg it's not hostile to the idea of mainstream media involvement in projects, a stance that will aid Google in developing a broader array of relationships in the news world. If this works out with AP content, it's not unlikely that other major media channels will be along for the hunt as well soon enough. This could easily take a whole new twist - maybe it's just AP news videos or some other limited move - but in the meantime "faites vos jeux" as they say in Monaco.