A year later than the Times planned to release the platform, Beta620, a public beta testing site where visitors can experiment with new products that could eventually take root on NYTimes.com went live.
There are seven projects for visitors to try and comment on as reported by Adage:
* The Buzz, which shows how much traction Times articles are getting on social media
* Times Companion, which lets you summon information on topics in the article you’re reading without taking you away from the page
* TimesInstant, a search page that shows results as you type
* Smart Search Bar, which sorts results and displays them without taking you away from the page you’re on
* NYTimes Crossword Web App, an HTML 5 version of the puzzle’s ageing digital versions
* Longitude, which plots the day’s Times articles on an interactive Google map
* Community Hub, a dashboard featuring stats on your comment history, a feed of comments on Times articles and, soon, Facebook friends’ comments
Denise Warren, senior VP and chief advertising officer at the New York Times Media Group as well as general manager at NYTimes.com, said:
“It’s a place that gives a permanent home to the tradition of innovation. And it invites our community in to help us formulate an opinion about the innovation and the new products.”
More and more initiatives like Beta620 are launched in markets to benefit from the incorporation of external stakeholders for various purposes. Next to the insights on NPD and Innovation, platforms like these are also a place to create and foster ambassadors and have a highly targeted buzz when (co-)launching new products. Co-launching reduces the dependency on agencies and lowers costs-to-market such as advertising.
Looking forward how Beta620 will evolve and for what –extra- purposes it will be used.