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ItÃs been a big month for news about personalized news (and February isn’t even half over). YouÃd think a startup like DailyMe with several years invested in building and evolving its Newstogram platform for dynamic personalization would want to keep the space to itself, but weÃre excited that so many others are deciding to enter the fray. It validates the importance of delivering personally relevant news experiences to each user in a digital world and it demonstrates the power of participating in our network approach vs. the cost and effort of building a standalone system yourself.
Among the latest to announce or launch personalized news products:
The New York Times quietly rolled out a page of Ã¬Articles Recommended for You.Ã® So far, I havenÃt seen any promotion of it on the main site, just news coverage of it. If you visit the page, youÃll need to log in, view several articles and wait a day for recommendations to appear. My experience has been that most of the recommendations are on target with my interests, but todayÃs top pick was Ã¬Museum and Gallery ListingsÃ® even though my interests displayed on the right were all technology, business and sports related, with not a hint of arts. Perhaps thatÃs why itÃs still kept low key.
The Washington Post let out some details of a new site called Trove, though itÃs still in private beta and supposedly wonÃt launch until next month. Coverage in The Wall Street Journal noted: Ã¬Media executives say the holy grail of online news is a service that tailors the experience to each reader as effectively as sites like Amazon and Pandora do for books and music.Ã® It also noted that Ã¬news is more difficult than other products to gear to individual preferences.Ã® I couldnÃt agree more. The project reportedly has a development team of 20 people and the company is investing $5 million to $10 million. The article didnÃt say if that includes the cost of its purchase iCurrent last year.
A bit more vaporware-ish (launch targeted at Ã¬first half of the yearÃ®) is the Yahoo! announcement of Ã¬Livestand.Ã® The project is described as a publishing platform for mobile devices that will be offered to other publishers as well as present Yahoo! content. Like other efforts, Yahoo! also claims it will be personalized based on the kinds of content you consume, much as the Yahoo! home page is tailored to each userÃs interests. While this might work well for Yahoo! content, IÃll be interested to see if other publishers want their articles mixed into a personalized blend of news from different sources or if they prefer to keep their content within a walled garden.
The NYT and Post seem intrigued enough by personalized news that they are hedging their bets on their own efforts and investing in other similar projects. Both are investors in Ongo, a paid iPad app that is both customizable (user must create topics of interest) and ad-free. The Times also spun off a social-stream-based personalization project called News.Me into Betaworks, which is building it out for release soon.
And its not just the big players who are expanding their personalized offerings. My6Sense, which already has a neat iPhone app that tailors your RSS and social feeds using Ã¬digital intuition,Ã® announced a Chrome browser extension that uses a similar approach to prioritize your Twitter stream.
If I wake up tomorrow to even more announcements of personalized news products, I guess I wonÃt think itÃs Ground Hog Day all over.