Thursday, April 24, 2008

Newsmap


Newsmap is a visual Google News aggregator by Marcos Weskamp and Dan Albritton. It gathers the latest headlines from Google News, and groups them according to topic. When you click on a headline, a blurb summary of that news article appears.*

Predictably, headlines that have the most related articles get the biggest font sizes, as well as the most attention from gentleman callers. Headlines are also are conveniently color-coded according to genre: world (red), nation (orange), business (purple), technology (olive green), sports (gold), entertainment (forest green) or health (dusky mauve).

If Suzanne Sommers used her Home Shopping Network money to stage a coup d'état taking over the nation and world with the help of a giant animatronic baseball bat, not only is the world screwed, but the newsmap will become one giant pulsating rainbow. I digress.

Newsmap's archive check boxes show you what headlines were hot up to a week ago. In addition to the US-centric default, you can also read headlines from Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom (sorry Latin Americans, Africans and non-subcontinent Asians; make a real continent and then check back).

Newsmap originally launched March of 2004, and according to the website, Marcos is still taking donations in an attempt to temporarily quit his job and "bring newsmap to the next level." I'm pretty sure Marcos himself doesn't know what that means, only that it worked so far and it generally sounds good to potential investors/potential girlfriends.

Marcos explains that his website is not a replacement for any news aggregator, but that its purpose is to,
"reveal underlying patterns in news reporting across cultures and within news segments in constant change around the globe. ... Its objective is to simply demonstrate visually the relationships between data and the unseen patterns in news media. It is not thought to display an unbiased view of the news; on the contrary, it is thought to ironically accentuate the bias of it."
Or if you don't believe in relativism, newsmap exposes the judgment of editors who decide "Area man mistakes Onion story for reality" is not news. Either way, glancing at newsmap will make you feel informed without the actual need for reading or thinking. Kind of like subscribing to USA Today.

Oh snap, son! Grade: A for awesome.
_____________
*If you turn off your pop-up blocker AND click on a headline, you will be taken to the source article.

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