NYT’s Future Maybe Smart Content

Yesterday at the Emerging Technologies conference, New York Times interface specialist, Nick Bilton discussed some of the new technology coming out of the Times research and development lab which might help bring the paper of record into the 21st century.

One of the innovative concepts he discussed was “smart content,” a system that would keep track of what users have read digitally across all devices. With this system, a reader who has looked at a story on their computer, will find this area grayed out and replaced with new content when they load the Times on their iPhone, assuming&#151smartly&#151readers want to only be presented with the most current data.

The Times is also experimenting with a machine, called “CustomTimes.” On the surface it appears like a newspaper box with a computer monitor on it. Set in strategic, indoor locations, readers will be able to peruse Times content on the monitor and then select and print stories that suit their interests.

In a nod to the frenetic pace of journalism, the paper is looking at creating a program which allows the Times to print stories with incomplete results (such as election or sports stories). Stories will be updated via mobile text when the newest information is available. Users would subscribe to the article update by sending a text to a mobile code presented at the end of each article.

These are just a few of the numerous projects currently on deck at the Times. For more information, check out CNETS full coverage of the ETech conference.