Update: We spoke with the guy in charge of Living Stories and posted what we learned here.
Earlier: Everyone wants Google to save the newspapers.
Today the search giant took something of a stab at it, partnering with The New York Times and The Washington Post to launch “Living Stories.”
It’s basically Times and Post stories boiled down to bullet-points, hosted on Google Labs.
Google: The idea behind Living Stories is to experiment with a different format for presenting news coverage online. News organisations produce a wealth of information that we all value; access to this information should be as great as the online medium allows.
A typical newspaper article leads with the most important and interesting news, and follows with additional information of decreasing importance. Information from prior coverage is often repeated with each new online article, and the same article is presented to everyone regardless of whether they already read it.
Living Stories try a different approach that plays to certain unique advantages of online publishing. They unify coverage on a single, dynamic page with a consistent URL. They organise information by developments in the story. They call your attention to changes in the story since you last viewed it so you can easily find the new material. Through a succinct summary of the whole story and regular updates, they offer a different online approach to balancing the overview with depth and context.
Google doesn’t say anything about advertising in its announcement, but you have to assume there will be some sort of revenue split between the search engine and the newspapers.
In the meantime, check it out. We found the picture-less presentation pretty snoozy.
Here’s a video demo: