New York Times to offer custom news based on location
The New York Times (NYT) has recently started testing a new way of delivering custom news to its readers through geographically targeted articles.
Known as Longitude, the experiment maps relevant stories to physical locations via an interactive display.
Users will be able to scroll a Google map populated with so-called Time-T pins that denote stories related to the area, expanding to reveal a snippet of info and thumbnail images when clicked.
Longitude uses data maintained in NYT servers and combines it with information on locations provided by GeoNames.
The interactive nature of the project could provide readers with a new way of receiving their news fix and may give the well-known publication a chance to improve its popularity with casual users.
Certain pieces of information – provided by LinkedData – are also supplied on regions when activated, providing consumers with an interesting factoid otherwise unrelated to the content of the news story.
Examples of this are two tabs titled Natives and Companies, which gives readers access to lists of local celebrities, notable residents and nearby company headquarters that may be relevant to a user's interests.
Currently the offering is only available within the US – but the New York Times does have a large overseas following that may come to increase the demand this sort of feature to be extended internationally.
The future of Longitude is quite bright, with avenues opening to develop new applications for mobile devices and plugin support for GPS-based reporting a distinct possibility.
With the increasing prevalence of wireless technologies and rising demand for timely news, the New York Times could be well placed to deliver a new generation of readers with original content in an interactive format that they feel more comfortable with.