Google's Timeline: a Graphical, Glitchy Take on the News
Instead of the usual list of links provided on the standard Google News page, the timeline appears as a grid that you can scan through by dragging the cursor left, right up or down inside the page (left or right take you forward or back in time, up or down let you scroll through the stories that ran in a given period of time). Buttons at the top allow you to restrict the display of relevant stories to those that appeared on a given day, week, month, year or decade.
It's a neat implementation of the "river of news" concept -- and an excellent exhibit of why traditional news organizations look foolish getting angry at Web sites when those sites just might dream up better ways to present their work.
But you can also see why this appears on Google's experimental Labs site. For example, a search for "Dulles metro" didn't yield any relevant stories newer than Jan. 8, while the same query on the regular Google News page turned up more than half a dozen items from just the last few weeks. The screen shot above, meanwhile, illustrates how the timeline search can mix in results with no discernible relevance among the stories you were looking for.
Likewise, the "Add More Queries" link, which is supposed to let you choose sources you like, seems to operate at random. I couldn't add the Post as a newspaper search or plug in the Capitals and Nationals as sports score queries.
Some of the timeline browsing features also invite confusion. Until you realize that clicking on the chronological column headings zooms you in (from decade to year, from year to month, from month to week, from week to day) and double-clicking zooms you out, it's easy to get lost. And unless you turn off the default saved query of Time magazine by clicking the blue "x" next to it, you may wonder why you see so many irrelevant magazine covers.
Is News Timeline worth a bookmark, or is it just a novelty best ignored for more straightforward news-site designs? Give it a test drive and let me know what you think in the comments here.
April 21, 2009; 12:36 PM ET
Categories: The Web , The business we have chosen
Save & Share: Previous: PostPoints tip: What's the big deal about Twitter?
Next: Earth Day Tips For Cheapskates (AKA, Old-School Environmentalists)
Posted by: ummhuh1 | April 22, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.