Saturday, February 09, 2008

Ask's BigNews and a PageRank for news

Ask launched a new news site called BigNews. Stories are ranked by importance (aka "BigFactor") which is determined in part by "monitoring mentions in articles, multimedia and blogs" and "the level of [Web] discussions and which ones are making the most noise."

Sounds a bit like PageRank in that it weighs documents by their mentions, but focuses on the leading edge of the Web, on recent documents and new links between documents.

But it is unclear if BigNews builds a link graph and does the full iterative computation or not. For example, when a document that has high BigFactor mentions another article, does it count for more (that is, does some of the BigFactor from the first transfer to the second)? It probably should.

It is also unclear how new this is. Googler Krishna Brahat said that Google News determines the importance of news articles, in part, by the popularity of the article and the PageRank of the source. While he did not say so explicitly, I would find it surprising if their measure of the popularity of an article did not include both clicks on the article and incoming links to the article.

Interesting even so. BigNews is another example of automating a front page of news, allowing the page to change rapidly in response to new articles and important trends. The next step may be to make BigFactor ranks unique to an individual -- reflecting individual tastes, preferences, and interests -- so every reader sees a different front page of news.

[Found via Vanessa Fox and Philipp Lenssen]

1 comment:

steve said...

And you left Topix off of your list of places that have done things like this already. Note these two examples:

And there's this as well.