Google introduces News Lab, a project to birth journalists on steroids

Google has announced a new project called News Lab, designed to give journalism more power. The site is a new effort by the company to empower innovation in which technology and media work far more closely and efficiently together.

The site, the company explains, will feature different tools for newsrooms, including tutorials and advice for journalists on how to use the numerous Google products in their reporting. And when Google develops new products it will continue to update these resources.

“From Maps to YouTube to Fusion Tables to Earth to Search, we offer many tools that newsrooms can use in their reporting and storytelling. Now, journalists around the world can access tutorials on these products created specifically for newsrooms,” Google says.

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Google is also looking to leverage its data, by using it to inform its Google Trends platform. The platform launched last week, the company points out, will give journalists deeper, broader and real time data. Using Google Trends, the company is also able to curate trends based on the headlines of the day, and through partnerships with newsrooms on specific data experiments.

This is a good move by google as it already owns this data. Though journalists might mine ‘the word on the street’ on Twitter and Facebook, Google still owns a lot of data on virtually everything and using it to aid journalists beyond finding the ‘word on the street’ is a smart move.

Not only is Google working on solutions for now but it has cast its eye in the future, and is attempting to solve future media problems. One way that the company thinks it can do this is by increasing the number of media startups in the marketplace. Matter is its first project to address future media problems but in the coming months it plans to host hackathons focused on developing new investigative tools such as drones, online databases, and more.

Google is not only focused on the traditional definition of what it means to be a journalist but on alternative means like citizen reporting. Citizen reporting has benefited a lot from the growth of videos in smartphones and the broader user of the internet and multimedia reporting.

Around the world, events get documented by citizens who are on the scene before the journalists even get there. By focusing on it, Google is staying with the trend and not playing catch up.

The company plans to do this with three projects, first draft, the witness media lab and the YouTube newswire. These are also meant to be make YouTube and other open platforms a lot more useful as places in which news consumers get their news content from citizen reporters around the world.

“We want to do our part to ensure that user-generated news content is a positive and game-changing force in media” the company says.

The US, UK, France, and Germany are the first countries to test the News Lab but Google notes that this is a global effort.



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