We just got off the phone with Google’s Josh Cohen, the guy in charge of “Living Stories” — the new Google Labs product that hosts and summarizes stories from the Washington Post and the New York Times.
Here’s what we learned:
- The summaries are the work of Washington Post and NYT human editors, not Google’s computers.
- There are no ads on any of the “Living Stories.”
- No money changed hands as a result of the partnership.
- “The whole idea is to really try an provide a new experimental way to see how people consume news.”
- The pages are hosted in Google Labs (not Google News) for now, but if metrics of success of met, the “Living Stories” will move to Times and Post Web domains.
- So no, Google isn’t finally full-fledged a media company.
- If “Living Stories” makes it out of beta, Google would allow any publisher to use the format on their Web site. ” Think of the way publishers use Google Maps,” Josh told us.
- The metrics of success are “Is this useful to readers?” and “Is this a better way of reading news online then they have today?”