New York Times Goes Social With TimesPeople

Caroline McCarthy just posted about a new Firefox plugin which the New York Times launched today. The service enables users to share the articles that they’ve been reading with other friends. The articles you read show up in a newsfeed-like manner comparable to Facebook’s newsfeed or your dugg articles on social news site, Digg.

The tool identifies users via their browser, not via their normal user login. To find your friends, you can simply search by name and location. The functionality is nearly identical to Google’s shared feed items tool found in Google Reader. The only difference is that the shared items only work for New York Times articles.

I gave the tool a test run on my newly updated Firefox browser and it worked smoothly. The only problem was that the toolbar which sits at the top of the page and is supposed to show “Recent Activity” didn’t display any of my recently shared items. That appears to be the only bug but aside from that, everything worked well.

I think the concept makes a lot of sense but I’m not sure that I’d ever use this tool again. Ultimately I consume the majority of my content through RSS feeds and sharing that content in other locations doesn’t make a lot of sense. Then again, I could import my New York Times shared feed directly into FriendFeed and now all of my shared New York Times articles will be seen by all my digital friends.

It’s nice to see the New York Times adding more social features but adding other contacts from this tool doesn’t make a lot of sense. This tool is yet another place for me to manage part of my digital identity and honestly I’m tired of doing that from other places on the web. Would you use this tool or do you already have enough places to share your favorite content?

People Search Screenshot

Shared Feed Screenshot