Google Explains "Living Stories"

new york times building

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 areĀ  “Is this useful to readers?” and “Is this a better way of reading news online then they have today?”

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