Archive for December 8th, 2009

Everything, all the time

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Google has upped the ante for life in the fast lane, delivering “a page where breaking news, Twitter feeds, blog entries and other content automatically refreshes every few seconds,” the San Jose Mercury News says.

Google is not the first to offer real-time search, but it is “trying to go a step further by having the new results appear automatically, without refreshing the page,” says The Wall Street Journal’s report.

Real-time search began to roll out for users Monday and will become fully available to everyone by the end of the day [Tuesday],” the Mercury News says. “Google said the real-time capability … in the next several weeks will also include public status updates from Facebook and MySpace.”

By early 2010, Google plans to enable smart-phones to easily translate speech between languages.

But wait, there’s more …

Google also introduced Living Stories on Tuesday, which bundles newspaper articles about specific topics on a single page. “Complete coverage of an on-going story is gathered together and prioritized on one URL,” the Web site says. “You can now quickly navigate between news articles, opinion pieces and features without long waits for pages to load.”

So far, The New York Times and The Washington Post are the only papers participating. According to the Associated Press, which calls the service an “attempt to help out the ailing newspaper industry,” Google isn’t paying the newspapers to feature the content, and there aren’t any immediate plans to sell advertising alongside the material, said Josh Cohen, a Google product manager overseeing the project.”

Howard Kurtz, at The Post explains: “By grouping the stories … day after day under one Web address, the Times and Post could boost their Google rankings, which would tend to push those pages toward the top of the list when people search for that subject. After the Tuesday launch, the story pages will reside at Google Labs for an experimental period of two to three months, and revert to the papers’ own Web sites if all goes well.

“‘Over the coming months, we’ll refine Living Stories based on your feedback,’ Google says in a blog posting. If the format gains traction, Google plans to offer it to any interested newspaper, magazine or Web site, at no charge.”

In its report, The Times says, “The announcement of the “living stories” project shows Google collaborating with newspapers at a time when some major publishers have characterized the company as a threat.”

“The page you are taken toward is a rich multimedia experience, complete with a timeline outlining key events, a sidebar that breaks down coverage (for Afghanistan, it’s divided between Opinion, Casualties, U.S. Policy and other topics), and an RSS feed-like display of recent articles,” says Ben Parr at Mashable.com.  “It’s clean and simple, but effectively explains key issues.”

McClatchy CEO optimistic

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Update: Gary Pruitt “said that advertising revenue is ‘finally, finally, improving,’ that all 30 of [McClatchy’s] newspapers are profitable and that McClatchy expects to maintain, if not grow, cash flow in 2010,” Editor & Publisher reported after McClatchy’s presentation to the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference Tuesday morning.

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McClatchy’s Gary Pruitt, a day after reinstituting employee raises (see post below), said Tuesday that the company expects revenue trends to continue to improve going into the first quarter of 2010.

Pruitt’s projection is that fourth quarter revenue wll be less-bad than it has been — “down in the low- to mid-20s percent range compared to down 28.1 percent in the third quarter and 30.2 percent in the second quarter.” Also, because of mass layoffs — “our focus on permanently reducing our costs” —  “we expect operating cash flow in the fourth quarter to grow compared to last year. Similarly, in 2010 we expect to at least maintain if not grow operating cash flow,” Pruitt said in a news release.

McClatchy management was to review the company’s business and strategies in a presentation at the UBS 37th Annual Global Media & Communications Conference at the Grand Hyatt New York Tuesday morning. The presentation is to be posted on its Web site.