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Google Businesses The Internet News

A New Google News Data Visualization, with Source 75

migurski writes "For those who liked the Newsmap, this new data visualization experiment focuses on time-based views of Google's news service, showing the ebb and flow of people and places covered, with archives back to February. All source code is available under a Creative Commons license, for those who like to play."
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A New Google News Data Visualization, with Source

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  • great... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by demonhold ( 735615 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @12:45PM (#9472824) Journal
    but,what is it for?

    • It seems like quite a cool tool to me, although it is pretty random what appears on the little "chips" (just whatever google puts in the "in the news" sidebar) and you dont really know what chip has what story on it, although that is part of the idea I guess.
    • Mindspace tracking (Score:5, Interesting)

      by drenehtsral ( 29789 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @01:28PM (#9473016) Homepage
      I can tell you what it's for: Mindspace tracking. A large number of people read the news every day. Each one of them gathers these little bits of information in some rough proportion to how often they're mentioned, filtered through their level of interest in any given subject.

      Say you want to place ads, or make a strategy for getting your message out, or watch a news story explode and see which things get increasing print space over time proportional to how important they are. There you go.

      For instance, if this has been the week after Howard Dean's "scream", we would have seen the coverage of that ramp up until it displaced a bunch of issues of much higher world importance.

      It's something to think about. This tool seems sort of crude, but it's open source so it could be expanded.
      • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Saturday June 19, 2004 @01:45PM (#9473108)
        Conversely, those who have news that they have to release that they don't want too much attention for can do their best to try to time such disclosures for days on which the news mindspace is completely jammed by a larger story. For example, last Friday the Ronald Reagan funeral was covered by all of the major broadcast networks during the early evening block where local and national newscasts are typically aired in most of the USA... essentially meaning that story captured 100% of those usual programs. Even in the PT time zone where the event was not a direct hit, it could be expected that their newscasts would be heavy on funeral coverage since he was the governor of California before being president.

        So, if a company has a price increase to announce or the shutdown of a product line, timing the bad news to hit on that day would likely cause the story to be ignored even if it would have made the B-block of a newscast on a typical day. Saturday newscasts are much lower-rated than weekday ones, and by Monday the story would be old news. Sure, a few soruces might pick up the story, but the mass media would be occupied with something else.
      • by migurski ( 545146 ) <mike@@@teczno...com> on Saturday June 19, 2004 @02:59PM (#9473522) Homepage
        I can tell you what it's for: Mindspace tracking. A large number of people read the news every day. Each one of them gathers these little bits of information in some rough proportion to how often they're mentioned, filtered through their level of interest in any given subject.

        Exactly!

        The original inspiration for this (which I imagine I should put in the explanation somewhere) was a historical world-empires map, that showed relative political influences of various nations and empires throughout history as a percentage of total world power. Lines for a given political force (Egypt, Rome, HRE, USA...) widened and narrowed depending on thier relative world power at a given time. The graph went from ~3000 BC to the present day.

        The interesting point was that world influence was considered a zero-sum game: the total amount of power shared stayed constant. In this case, I'm treating the "In The News" sidebar as an expression of news prevalence: sampled every 15 minutes, a term can be considered to have "maximum" mindshare if it appears in that list every time. George Bush, John Kerry, Abu Ghraib are good examples of terms that have consistently maintained near-maximum share. Scroll back to mid-to-late March to see Richard Clarke, Condi Rice, and National Security dominate.

    • What is it for? What is it for?

      You ask this here, on Slashdot, weblogger of The Bible In Lego? The inside-out, glow in the dark case mod?

      Ask not for whom the webpage loads. . .(else they come to their senses and stop.)
  • Looks Cool (Score:3, Insightful)

    by powera ( 644300 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @12:46PM (#9472825) Homepage
    It sure looks neat, but I'm not sure what use it will have. If the server dies, it has red and green bars that correspond to when a term (such as George Bush) is in the Google News "Making News" category. It probably is more useful over a long-term scale though, so I think we'll have to wait for it to be really useful.
  • by z0ink ( 572154 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @12:46PM (#9472826)
    This is truely the new wave in watching the news!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I thought http://www.nakednews.com was the new wave of watching the news.
  • It sure looks great, but i just cant understand how it (should) work.

    But its fun. Prioritize!
  • great (Score:2, Funny)

    by demonhold ( 735615 )
    ....ah now I understand....

    never understimate the advantages of reading articles linked....

    • Re:great (Score:3, Funny)

      by mog007 ( 677810 )
      Google better not steal the /. effect from us... they have created a synonym for internet search, I hope a "Googling" won't replace a proper /.ing.
  • Anyone else think that all of the new google inventions being released are not just for the product itself, but for the IPO? the google gmail invite machine [mmgn.com] is getting over 1000 hits per second, and is using an amazing amount of bandwidth. Although it may be a publicity stunt, I am pretty surpried with all of the nice innovations google is coming up with, to expand it's market from just search engines.
    • From the gmail invite machine:

      Simply click your refresh button over and over again to see a random number, if you see the number 1337 you win a free Gmail invite!

      D0od! D@7z 1337!
    • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Saturday June 19, 2004 @01:10PM (#9472938)
      The GMail Invite Machine is a project of The Broken.org, which mainly Kevin Rose of TechTV fame. Most of its invites that it's giving away stem from the fact that everyone at TechTV has a GMail account and they've pooled their invites into that.
    • by DocMax ( 789664 )
      Gmail may be a stunt, but Newsmap wouldn't be -- Google isn't behind it.
    • by mrpuffypants ( 444598 ) * <mrpuffypants@@@gmail...com> on Saturday June 19, 2004 @01:17PM (#9472962)
      Sorry to burst your bubble, but these cool new uses for Google's massive infrastructure aren't 'new' or '1st-Party' in any at all.

      People have been making interesting and cool things that tie into the Google API for years now. Visual search engines, google-fighting, and other uses have been posted to /. and discussed already on any tech-aware blog many times over.
      • Google News doesn't even have any interface in the Google API at all. These projects are most often based on HTML-ripping because that's the only way to go.

        Google could shut such projects down, but so long as they're not overly commericalized or overly taxing to Google's systems they usually just let them stand.
      • Well, then check out memigo [memigo.com] (my own newsbot) or findory [findory.com] (not affiliated) for interesting experiments on news delivery without Google's infrastructure (both sites are one-man operations, and I only work on memigo on my spare time).
  • by ccweigle ( 25237 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @12:52PM (#9472855)
    What's new since April [slashdot.org]?
  • But it's really cool. Fun to play with too.
  • a bug or an egg? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Barryke ( 772876 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @12:54PM (#9472863) Homepage
    Its got some kind of bug in it..

    When you click "mr. Reagan" (hehehe good luck searching, its on Sat. June 19, about 10 blocks from the far right end.

    Notice the white thing aprearing top left ??
    • Same happens with "Johnson Jr.", my quick search didn't find any other ones, so I suspect it's the dot causing the effect (the white square is supposed to be the borders for the selected piece).
    • Confirmed (Mozilla 1.7). I think I found another: The leftmost (tiny) bar on Tuesday, June 15, is titled "found nothing". (It's still to the left of Abu Ghraib.)
    • It's a bug - the issue seems to come up with names that have too many synonyms, e.g. Mr. Reagan / Ronald Reagan / Ronald Wilson Reagan / etc. I've had the same issue with Osama / Osama Bin Laden / Bin Laden, and it's being investigated.
  • Konq (Score:3, Informative)

    by xanadu-xtroot.com ( 450073 ) <xanadu@in[ ]it.com ['orb' in gap]> on Saturday June 19, 2004 @12:55PM (#9472874) Homepage Journal
    I have no idea what's on that page, but it crashes Konqueror. It's just some flash stuff as far as I can see, and flash stuff is no problem, but that page dumps Konq.

    Just thought I'd point it out for teh Konq users...
  • Ironic... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by frostman ( 302143 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @12:58PM (#9472894) Homepage Journal
    I just installed Flashblock on Firefox so I could surf in peace on my old Linux laptop, and now this...

    It's interesting enough but doesn't really give you much information - not that I could easily figure out anyway.

    It would be nice to see the terms related to each other somehow... like in the hatemap on hatester.
  • Google is for GMAIL! (Score:3, Informative)

    by callipygian-showsyst ( 631222 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @12:59PM (#9472897) Homepage
    Here's what a winning screen [robert.to] [robert.to] looks like on the Gmail Machine!

    I got mine on the 3rd try, but I figure seeing the text of the screen will help you boys and girls that are trying to write SCRIPTS automatically keep trying the Gmail Machine!

    And no, you're not getting my new gmail address! I want to keep it spam free.

  • This is new? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 19, 2004 @01:03PM (#9472909)
    Did you ever stop to think that the reason that the archives go back to Febuary is that Febuary is when this tool was released? And did you ever look at the newsmap web site, where they credit this "new" site for the inspiration to make newsmap.
  • by thatguywhoiam ( 524290 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @01:11PM (#9472941)
    I've been using newsmap [marumushi.com] every day since I first noticed it. It's a fantastic first stop of the day to see, at a glance, just what the hell is going on in the world (oh, and oyu can deactivate topics like Sports, which I think is great.. amazing how much more you can see of real news when you take that out).

    This thing seems confusing and incomplete after newsmap. You only get a noun-type 2-3 word blurb for each story. Its interesting for the time-based approach, but it doesn't seem very useful for actually browsing the news.

    Slashdot should consider using some kind of treemap interface as an alternative interface, based on number of comments and clickthroughs and such. I would definitely use something like that, just on the front page, to see what's getting attention. If you're anything like me, you often scan the stories to see how many comments they've received, and thus where the raging debate is.

    (Of course, newsmap was made in Flash, which a lot of Slashdotters are chronically allergic to. Cue chorus of FlashHatas(TM) in 3, 2, 1...)

    • It's not trying to do the same thing as newsmap. That's a snapshot of the magnitude of the current news, whereas this is a visualization of the CHANGE in a news story's popularity over the last week. I think the two work together well and newsmap could easily incorporate this code into their service.
    • The problem with Flash is that you either spend loads of time on making your innovative idea usable or you end up with some flashy abomination. If such applications were all made open source, some extremely useful things could be made and perfected very quickly. The HTML/WWW approach is extremely old and not really as good today as it was a decade ago. Innovation is slow - if only we used open standards and open source more... we could have already had something like Semantic Web [w3.org].
  • by j1m+5n0w ( 749199 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @01:20PM (#9472975) Homepage Journal

    I couldn't help but notice the following were listed as "losers":

    John Kerry
    George Bush
    Tony Blair
    Abu Ghraib

    -jim

  • by cryophan ( 787735 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @01:30PM (#9473029) Homepage Journal
    the google API does not include Google news query rights, so how did they query google news?
  • It is interesting to see Google data displayed this way. Probably most interesting simply because of how this visualization method has been already used for handling other extremely large data sets; DNA microarrays. Just take a look http://www.stanford.edu/group/cyert/

  • by Geartest.com ( 582779 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @02:04PM (#9473230) Homepage

    Back in 1998 SmartMoney [smartmoney.com] came out with its Map of the Market [smartmoney.com] which was a Java-based visualization of activity in the stock market. SmartMoney now has a whole set of maps that track technology [smartmoney.com], health care [smartmoney.com], Internet [smartmoney.com] and telecommunications [smartmoney.com] stocks, as well as several others [smartmoney.com].

    While it wasn't the first attempt to graphically represent vast amounts of dynamic data with multiple dimensions, it was probably one of the first -- if not the first -- free online visualization tool that was popularized through the Internet.

    Some people have commented that the Google News Map project isn't very useful. The SmartMoney map was a basic tool when it started but now the company has a (subscription-based) detailed data visualization tool (MapStation) based on the free version, as well as risk analysis maps and others.

    Give it time and the people behind the Google News Map, or someone else, will come up with a more advanced map that will provide the type of utility you're looking for.

  • by Punchinello ( 303093 ) * on Saturday June 19, 2004 @02:11PM (#9473267)
    It first glance I liked the idea of a law that requires a program to be easily removed. This would make spyware (and some badly written, but useful software) easier to remove when I choose. But then I wondered about certain security patches that say, "Once this Security Patch is installed it cannot be removed." I see this with Windows all the time and suspect it applies to other OSs in certain cases. The law will need to be carefully written to exclude OS patches and the like or we could have a mess.
  • spooks

    or political spin meisters

    or marketeers...

    will be over this like fleas on a dog, a veritable feeding frenzy of drones - unless they've been there already

    Warp factor 10, tin foil hats set to maximum...

    h
  • Sector maps are an efficient way to view mass amounts of quantitiative data but not for qualitative data such as news stories and articles. The perfect situation for sector maps are those where you have a large spreadsheet of historical data or data that changes over time. Stocks are a good example. Ticker symbols remain constant and each day there is a new volume of activity and %change. If MSFT does a large volume and decrease significantly over the previous day then I would expect a large dark red sq
  • A bit offtopic, but I have two GMail invites to give away if anyone is interested... first two to respond with an email address.
  • i like google newsmjap better http://www.marumushi.com/apps/newsmap/newsmap.cfm
  • by jim_deane ( 63059 ) on Saturday June 19, 2004 @08:22PM (#9475308) Journal
    I've been checking Newsmap fairly often. It seems similar in theme.

    http://www.marumushi.com/apps/newsmap/newsmap.cf m

    It hasn't taken "primary" status in my daily news reading, but it is an interesting "auxilliary".

    Jim
  • As a minority (on \.) Flash guy (I like it, use it, and talk clients out of big ugly opening movies), the Action Script seems a bit too convoluted. In fact, here comes off-topic rant ...

    Much of MX2004 is to ... uh ... widget-ie(?). I could do all of this in F5 and now, besides the usual relearn new interface gripes, it's gotten more obfuscated. Unless I'm wrong and just haven't gotten my head around it.

    As for Googles page, close but ... IMHO the graphics don't improve on a barchart.

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