February 24, 2006

I heard it on the Newsvine...

Newsvine is a new collaborative news site that lets you do three things: Read news, Write your own news (or keep a blog) and Seed News. It is one of a new generation of websites that aims to let news become more interactive and collaborative. Newsvine’s philosophy is simple; let the story be a starting point for conversation. A kind of Amazon ‘user-reviews’ for news.

Other news aggregation sites like Google news exist but Newsvine is the first general purpose news site that puts the users in control.

Newsvine is an invitation only website – the idea behind this approach is that people who are interested will invite others of the same ilk – rather then letting in a raft of people who aren’t interested.

I’ve been testing Newsvine over the past week and am very impressed. If you have a preference for just reading the news you’ll find that Newsvine is updated and indexed constantly. They have a direct feed from Associated Press articles meaning you get the latest news as it is published.

Like talk-back radio Newsvine lets you discuss news you are interested in. If you want, you can add comments to each article you read. Other users can then respond to these comments meaning the news becomes interactive rather then static. Newsvine also lets you create your own blog (not new) however if your site becomes popular you can earn advertising revenue from those that view it.

Newsvine is similar in approach to other collaborative news sites, like digg.com and slashdot.org however the approach and interface are very different. For one, most other news sites require users to report in on news they find. Newsvine gets its news directly from an Associated Press stream – and also includes the ability to add other sites. Newsvine also lets users ‘tag’ content, a del.icio.us concept that gives users extra searching capabilities. Lastly, Slashdot and Digg have a technology/science focus while Newsvine has something for everyone.

For those that like their news local you can view news from particular regions. I tested this feature and was a little disappointed with the quantity of news from AP. As the Newsvine user base grows this problem will disappear as more people ‘seed’ news and therefore create a richer experience.