The feed and fishing container

Posted on Posted in Blog, Cooperations, Google

Lingua Franca for the News

One thing that makes us scratch our heads while integrating content of our partners into xMinutes: There’s no agreement within the industry on how to package stories. There’s no Lingua Franca for spreading the news.

The most common formats are RSS and Atom. But to call them “standard feeds” turns out to be a shameless exaggeration. Everybody has their own interpretation about how a title, description or summary looks like. The feeds are out of sight, neglected and not very useful. They stand for a lost opportunity for exchanging stories in an easy-to-manage way.

Proprietary systems
Google and Facebook have addressed that problem with their own ideas, proposing AMP (“Accelerated Mobile Pages”) and Facebook FBIA (“Facebook Instant Articles”) as standardized formats to the whole news industry.

Both are proprietary in the way they integrate advertising. FBIA is only working within their infrastructure, AMP is an open source system and it is not limited to one platform.

Interchange formats
The biggest visible advantage for the user is the fast loading time, but we feel that for news producers, there’s an additional plus: we finally have two interchange formats that are read by human readers, billions of them.

It’s the only way to get publishers to pay attention to their content packaging – if they know for sure their audience is watching.

Shipping container
We hope that the direction continues and the content industry has now finally arrived where the freight business has arrived some decades ago with the introduction of the standard shipping container: almost everybody is obeying the universally accepted packaging standards.

This will make the logistics of journalism much easier and cheaper – to the benefit of everybody.

FBIA vs. AMP is about the fight for mobile advertising budget.

Apple is being a little bit more public about their AI effort, because Facebook, Amazon and Google are stealing the show by open-sourcing their software.

Facebook let journalists go and left trending news to the engineers. That made journalist at other outlets complain about false or irrelevant stories taking up the top spots.

Pro: “The inmates running the asylum” (Quartz)
Contra: “From messy to disastrous” (Slate)