Newspond is a news aggregation site that boasts “No editors. No voting. Just an AI news engine.” Presumably, the lack of voting distinguishes it from sites like Digg and the lack of editing from the Mahalo-like and maybe Slashdot? Does this mean it’s like Ask’s recent news aggregation entry BigNews but with fewer categories? Or maybe it’s like Google News? Or Techmeme?
So far, Newspond aggregates three categories of news: tech, games, and science. It sorts by “buoyancy rating” (which seems to be simply current popularity), provides additional sources for the story, and allows comments. It sorts by “real-time global popularity” using a “tireless electronic brain.” So, it processes items using a computer. That’s just crazy!
Below, more about how Newspond stacks up to other choices for up-to-date buzz, as well as the web’s reaction.
In truth, there’s likely something interesting at work with the artificial intelligence used to figure out what’s newsworthy. But the hyperbole of the site obscures what value there may be. Lots of aggregation-type sites (including, for instance, Google), use AI; saying you watch “hundreds” of sites isn’t that impressive, and pronouncing that you’ve reinvented comments seems much ado about nothing.
But how do Newspond’s results rate? Are they really better? The top news item is currently “Devil May Cry 4 Ships Two Million.” That was also the top news item early this morning, so apparently it’s a slow news day. As “ThePrawn” said in the reinvented comments:
“I am stunned that this is the most popular story–and still on the rise. . . is it *really* the most popular story out there? If it is, it really says something about We the People. Or, more likely, it’s indicative of a not-quite-fully-adequate source spidering on part of the pond’s web scouring. I really hope DMC4 isn’t what the collective Internet press believes to be the most important/interesting thing going on.”
Another commenter notes that gaming has equal weight of tech and science. Four of the top five stories are currently about gaming, so maybe it’s just a big news day for games. (Which is possible since just before I started writing this, I walked through a hotel lobby filled to the brim with game developers on break from a conference in San Francisco, but I may be giving Newspond a little too much benefit of the doubt.)
Digg has gaming news on the home page, although nothing about DMC4. It also mentions the satellite that’s about to plummet to earth and plunge us all into a post-apocalyptic ice age (OK, I may have made that last part up about the ice), which Newspond doesn’t list at all. (Perhaps it doesn’t fit the three category system.) Ask does include the satellite story, though, in its “science and tech” section.
Techmeme’s top story is about Windows Vista SP1 (which is Newspond’s one non-game story of the top five). No mention of the Deep Impact re-enactment.
Propeller and Reddit are all about politics. And that nude Lindsay Lohan photoshoot. They do mention that looming satellite as well.
Google News covers everything, including mentions of the satellite, the games, and the rest.
Ultimately, Newspond doesn’t seem bad, it just doesn’t seem to stand out from the rest. And I don’t know if we need another news site, particularly one with such a narrow niche. If it proves itself more relevant than other news aggregation sites and can somehow gain enough awareness that people try it out, it could become a useful means of traffic. But search marketers don’t need to rush out today to figure out how to optimize their content for Newspond.
How is the web reacting to Newspond? Download Squad seems to be reserving judgment, Techcrunch was as bowled over as I was by the grand claims nearing the levels of cold fusion and world peace. Mashable really liked it. (No, that’s not sarcasm. They really liked it.)
Competition in a market is generally a good thing and may lead to some interesting innovations in the space. Newspond’s broad claims imply they’ve already gotten there. But they’re more likely just one of many stepping stones along the way.