With a never-ending deluge of content on the Web today, finding the good stuff, the important stuff has become increasingly difficult — not to mention time consuming. Two of the biggest content platforms are exploring ways to solve that problem.
Twitter and Youtube today both announced they would start curating content. The announcements are separate and not related, but it clearly demonstrates that both companies amass a tremendous amount of daily content, and surfacing quality results should help users derive more value.
“Project Lightning” is the name of Twitter’s approach to curating events that people are Tweeting about. According to Buzzfeed, a new button will sit on the center of the home row on the mobile apps for Android and iOS. Tap it and you’ll be taken to a media rich display of what’s happening right now in the world. Current events. Breaking news. And, no doubt, memes, will be part of the feed.
Meanwhile, YouTube is tapping in to the time honored tradition of citizen journalism (Nightcrawler?!). “Newswire” will highlight what it believes to be interesting and important eyewitness videos. It could be related to the Arab Spring, a shooting, a Presidential announcement, and any other raw clip uploaded to YouTube that might otherwise find itself on CNN, Fox News, or any of the outlets that rely on Google’s burgeoning service for first hand, on-the-ground accounts of breaking news. Google says that people watch 5 million hours of news video daily on YouTube.
A New Model for Broadcast News?
Both of these announcements aren’t surprise moves. And they’re fairly minor to be sure. Curating content is nothing new. Twitter and YouTube have both experimented with different ways of helping users find quality and timely content.
What is interesting, however, is that these are small steps towards possibly establishing the respective services as bonafide news channels — places we would go in lieu of turning on a television and watching the nightly news.
YouTube, for instance, already streams live Presidential addresses, conferences (such as the recent E3 gaming expo), and other events. Combine that service with real-time breaking news presented in an organized fashion with familiar broadcast-like controls (channels) and you can start to see where Google is going with this… we are on the verge of autonomous cars, could it be that we are also on the verge of user-generated news channels?
The next logical step could be the addition of an anchor of sorts, and various on-air personalities. Yahoo has Katie Couric. How long will it be before YouTube, and perhaps even Twitter, sign big name talent? That person and team could provide real-time commentary as various YouTube clips are played. YouTube has the audience, it has a massively scalable platform, and it has the brand name. I think the traditional broadcast news model as we know it could be in for a bit of Uber-ization.