NewsBlaster

In today’s SearchDay, Chris Sherman introduced a new project from the Columbia Natural Language Processing group called Newsblaster, an automatic content aggregator, which, unlike Blogdex, actually culls similar content into one descriptive passage. Chris noted:

“If such a system were combined with a URL monitoring service, and seeded with a taxonomy of subjects personally interesting to you, it could effectively create your own web “advisory” service, automatically building directories of promising sites annotated with high-level summaries that would spare you the time of manual searching.”

Sounds to me like the coming of personalized news, the underlying goals of which have always left me a little uneasy. Personalized news tends to converge, as one might expect, on your personal interests. If we take this model to the extreme, then would I ever learn anything entirely new? Something revolutionary? What I want is someone else’s personalized news, someone like myself, but different enough that they will lead me in a new direction. That, my friends, is a weblog. And thankfully, there are lots of those.

To be fair, I’m sure Chris is referring to some hybrid of weblog and news content, which is taking all of this into account. I just had to get the ‘personalized news’ rant off my chest. I feel better now, in case anyone is wondering.