Yesterday Google News released a new timelines feature which enables users to visualize the ebb and flow of a given story over time. Here’s the link to the Google News Blog post.
It doesn’t seem to work with every story and doesn’t appear to apply to actual searches. Google’s post does, however, allude to some up-coming developments, so maybe that will be added (or maybe the timeline feature isn’t fully rolled out – everything’s in Beta in Googleland anyway).
Right now these timelines are a curiosity, however if they do become more functional – as I expect they will – they could provide users with a powerful way of understanding the news cycle.
However functional they become, timelines are something of a side-show, what i’d be more excited about is a Google News open API (if one exists someone let me know, I haven’t found it). This post by Jeff Jarvis provides an overview of news media APIs and supplies some valuable links.
How might a news APIs help PR/marketing? Well, it will supercharge our ability to look at news and influencers as data points. Public relations professionals would suddenly become data analysts. How’s that for a disruptive change?