Inform to Simplify and Diversify
I got an update yesterday from news aggregator Inform.com. These guys launched several months ago with a host of super-charged features that proved well beyond what most users want from a news site. Product manager Julian Steinberg acknowledged this in our conversation even as he demonstrated the new audio and video content on the site. (Inform now says it's got more video content than any other news site.)
Indeed, the volume of multimedia content is impressive as are the personalization and contextual search capabilities (although these are now more limited for simplification purposes) — one can create highly customized news searches and feeds and even export those to alternative news readers.
Most interesting to me was our discussion of Inform as a news aggregation "platform" for third-party sites (i.e., newspapers). The idea here is that Inform would enable all news sites to become aggregators in addition to offering their own content. NewsGator and Pluck offer a similar proposition.
Online newspapers will ultimately need to do some version of third-party news aggregation to remain competitive over time.