The Washington Post Company gets with the times in a big way today, with Trove, a personalized news aggregation site. Trove personalizes news in a couple of ways–it uses Facebook Connect to cull information about your interests, and it offers pairs of articles for you to choose from, Hot-or-Not style. While its algorithms get to know you better, that doesn’t mean the site’s on auto-pilot; an editorial team is also curating all the while.
The Washington Post newspaper has always lagged a tad, it seems, in the digital age. Its website is not nearly as pleasing to the eye (or successful) as that of the New York Times. The Washington Post Company as a whole is, of course, more Internet-savvy–it owns Slate, for instance. But Trove is something else entirely: a Washington Post Company product that goes to great lengths for a viral, social, meme-y reach. Its promotional video was made by Next Media Animation! (“It makes a great inbox stuffer!” Trove writes of the video, in what seems like copy straight out of Groupon’s Elements of Goofiness stylebook.)
Donald Graham, chairman and CEO of the Washington Post Company, took a moment on Facebook to welcome users to the service and call attention to its social aspects. “Trove is, by its nature, a social experience: you can share your channels with your friends, engage with fellow site users using the conversation boards featured on every channel, and interact with Trove on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr,” wrote the totally-down-with-tech Graham (or perhaps his 22-year-old assistant). He also announced that Trove would “evolve rapidly” and that they were experimenting with “advertising concepts;” for now, Ford has sponsored the launch.
In addition to desktop versions, Trove, a product of WaPo Labs that has been in private beta for two months, is now ready on Android and Blackberry. And iPhone and iPad apps are on the way. Some have speculated that Trove runs partly on tech picked up in WaPo’s acquisition of iCurrent, an aggregating tool, nearly a year ago.
And speaking of iPads, news aggregation, social news, major publishers, and speculation, Trove isn’t the only one making headlines today. Bit.ly’s social news iPad app, News.me, which had been expected months ago, might finally have an imminent launch date. This is speculation via All Things Digital, whose Peter Kafka observes that a new website for News.me gives some new details about the app, in an FAQ. A weekly subscription is $0.99 a week, $34.99 a year. Its discovery engine for you is powered by your Twitter account (or, more properly, those of the people you follow). News.me will offer a nice, clean, ad-free, Instapaper-style reading environment. And so on.
The New York Times, the AP, Forbes, and AOL are all on board to collaborate with Trove. (So’s Fast Company, for that matter–a more complete list is here.) What’s in it for publishers like us? News.me promises access to new audiences, and offers revenue share based on the popularity of content.