Memeorandum launched a new blog news aggregation service today. It’s an automatic summary of key news issues, with links to further discussions from around the blogosphere on a given topic. Unfortunately they don’t have the key visual clues that help people judge the importance and credibility of a story: number of conversations on that topic, and time ellapsed since the story broke. I’m also not thrilled with the information design–it’s not the prettiest thing to look at.
Interestingly, there are two categories or types of news they are focusing on: political news and tech news. This reminded me of something Chris Anderson writes about in the Long Tail: Information needs context for it to be useful. For instance, top-ten list of all bands on a online music store is meaningless, but a top-ten list for latin jazz suddenly makes a lot of sense. Similarly, news based on all blogs isn’t nearly as valuable as categorizing it under politics or tech or whatever.
In the Long Tail, categories of niches are needed before the information in that market can even make sense, so it would seem. And if services like Memeorandum expand, we’ll end up with a taxonomy of niche markets. Uh oh–did I just say “taxonomy.” Guess I did. Looks like structured information–even way out there in the long tail of the blogoshere–ain’t so bad after all.