Google is currently working on a new news format called Living Story which it hopes will be adopted by major news outlets worldwide in a bid to standardise the way information is consumed.
The search engine giant has partnered with the Washington Post and the New York Times to deliver the first examples of the LS formatted documents in its Googlelabs section and gauge the feedback of users and readers alike.
The Living Story concept is similar to another Google product, Knol in that it brings together a number of components of story on a single page; these include a summary, pictures, various articles, a timeline, comments etc.
The main difference is that Knol caters for long term, evergreen subjects whereas Living Story aims to be more topical in its approach with the news written by professional journalists from a particular news outlet.
Living Story pages will "unify coverage on a single, dynamic page with a consistent URL" and as the name says, will continue to be updated as new content appears. What constitute a Living story, according to Google, is subjective.
"AIG" and "Credit Crisis" are topic pages, but "AIG's bonus controversy" is a living story; this, we concur, is the weakest point of the concept although it might actually be solved by letting users define the title.
Google said on its blog that Living stories could be the future of news although not all the concepts that it introduces are correct. But it hopes that the collaborative push can "kick off the debate and encourage innovation in how people interact with news online".
Users are encouraged to sign up for email alerts and Google, through Neha Singh and Josh Cohen, promises to refine Living Stories based on the users' feedback. Obviously, we will be following Living Story very closely and maybe even implement a few of its concepts in future iterations of ITProPortal.com. It would be interesting to see whether this automated process could be applied to a group of news outlets to create a completely new type of Google News.