Future of News, according to Facebook & Google

how 'new media' is approaching the news industry

Two of today’s largest “media giants” have made some recent strides into the News world over the past month or so.

May 12th, Facebook launched “Instant articles” with several large news publishers: The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC News, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild. More info.

June 22nd, Google launches “News Lab” with a handful of lesser known partners. Read the write up on Techcrunch


The part I find most interesting is how fundamentally different the approaches are for these two “competitors”, really.

Facebook is really trying to solve a very specific problem with news publishing: “News sites are slow”. Although I do applaud them for being super focused, I think it’s a bit short-sighted as the problem could shift overnight. Devices/browsers are changing. I’m not saying this won’t be an improvement to their platform, I just don’t see how it warrants all the fanfare.

Google, on the other hand, is taking a more long-term, strategic approach of “We don’t really know which problems we need to solve first, but we’re focusing on the discovery process”. Sorry for putting words in Google’s mouth, but I hope that made sense.

Regardless, I think these two approaches are big “tells” into the culture of these companies and I have my obvious opinion of which one will pan out in the long-term.

My other observation is that Facebook obviously sees “Apps” as the more viable future for publishing, while Google is taking publishing on the web more seriously and also getting real when it comes to tools for publishers and making “Data Journalism” something news consumers can finally start experiencing. In my experience, never bet against the Web, just go ask Microsoft…

However, having been involved in the work to make our articles (NBCNews) available to Facebook through a “data feed”, I do appreciate the possibility that this could spawn a new format for “news content syndication”. But I may have already said too much…

I should also mention that Apple announced their “News” app on June 8th, so we’ll have to wait for that one to hit the App Store (meh). More on that via Wired

Would love to hear what you think…