The Digital Gutenbergs Spur Their Chargers. Giddyap.

June 18, 2015

Forget the mom and pop app. A couple of big outfits are going to select and present information you will consume. Choice? Well, for those who are [a] busy, [b] unable to read, and [c] those with short attention spans—your life is going to be just peachy.

The first rumble comes from lovable Apple. Navigate to “Apple Inc. To Hire Journalists For Curated Content On News App.” I highlighted this passage:

Apple’s decision to hire journalists is the latest example of fusion between news media and tech companies. In the last few years, many social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, have hired editors and reporters from high profile news media, such as NBC and News Corp. Recently, Snapchat also hired reporters from CNN, and The Verge, a tech site.

The article reminded me that Facebook is ambling down a content path as well.

The next it is that the recruiting tool LinkedIn is going to use humans to “tailor news.” The details, which I assume are spot are, appear in “LinkedIn Brings Back Human Editors to Tailor News to You.” I circled this statement:

But to compete with these other products, Kothari knows that Pulse must offer something different. It’s the “world’s first personalized business news digest,” he says. More importantly, perhaps, LinkedIn’s Pulse is bringing back human editors, not just algorithms, to tailor the news you see to what it already knows about you. And yet it may not be alone—Apple is reportedly planning to curate news with the help of humans, too.

Also, the GOOG, already armed with APIs and the warm and fuzzy news service is taking another baby step into content as well. The story I printed out is called “A New Window into Our World with Real Time Trends.” Yep, just family because it is “our world.” Google says:

On the new, you’ll find a ranked, real-time list of trending stories that are gaining traction across Google. In addition to Search, we now look at trends from YouTube and Google News and combine them to better understand what topics and stories are trending across the web right now. The redesigned homepage is now available in 28 countries around the world, and we’ll continue to add more locations in the coming months.

What’s the impact of these digital Gutenberg twirls?

My initial reaction is that and similar services will be doing some talking with their investors. Whatever money these news recyclers have is probably not going to be enough to deal with the Apples, Facebooks, Googles, and LinkedIns of the world. Heck, LinkedIn may need more dough too.

Second, are there enough readers to allow each of these services to meet the expectations of the spreadsheet jockeys who project revenues? My hunch is that the answer is, “Nope.” More concentration ahead I opine.

And, third, what about the old line publishing companies which continue to pretend that their products and services are exactly what the market wants? More pain and not much gain I assume.

Exciting times for the digital Gutenbergs? Too bad my study Google: The Digital Gutenberg is out of print. If you are curious about this trend, let me know and I will spin up a PDF of that original study. Write

Stephen E Arnold, June 18, 2015


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