Crack for media junkies

screenshot.gif’s newsmap is a constantly updated visual reflection of Google News (a computer-edited summary page of current news coverage in 10 different countries that is hella impressive in itself). It’s nothing short of stunning. This is one of those things that you see that just totally blows your mind and suggests almost painfully the kind of things that will be coming down the pike. This may be the 21st century equivalent of the bank of TVs tuned to all the news channels. More amazing is the ability to instantly compare content country by country.

4 thoughts on “Crack for media junkies”

  1. I wish they’d provide a bit more information about how to read the map. The height of each color band is obviously related to the importance of each topic, but how is “importance” measured? Similarly, the width of each story is relevant … somehow. Is the font size relevant at all? What about the ordering of the stories?

    This’d be a lot more useful if they’d tell us how to interpret it. Without that information, it’s merely pretty to look at.

  2. Darling, you know I love you, but please pull the Tufte out of your ass! It just launched yesterday. I’m sure people will have questions that lead to refinements. But when someone creates a visualization of something so complex that had previously only existed in text with no clear visualization of impact, relative importance, or recency, I think it’s a little harsh to dismiss it as “merely pretty.” Can I hear a little love for v1.0 of something developed as a labor of love by someone who has obviously done a lot of thinking about mapping entirely new digital spaces?

    There is some more info here and here, from the newsmap creator, Marco Weskamp. The height of the color band appears to be linked to the proportion of content in that category to Google News as a whole; the width is (as you see if you mouse over a story) constrained by the number of articles in the Google News “cluster.” Font size appears to render on the fly, based on length of the headline chosen by Google News to represent the cluster.

    I set this as the Active Desktop background to my second monitor at work; it updates whenever my machine is idle and it just conveys an amazing sense of what’s happening. As with Google News itself, it can be irritating that the cluster doesn’t always link to a particularly authoritative source (but that’s part of the point).

    Anyway, maybe I’m just dumb (oooooh, shiny things!) but I was impressed.

  3. I’m with David. Maybe I’ll check back later, but right now, I prefer Google’s standard presentation.

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