It’s exciting to see a social news aggregator from a major media company, and the new Netscape beta is a bold step in that direction.
I agree with David Card that it’s an aggressive implementation of current thinking in social news coupled with some new ideas — notably the use of editors. I also agree with him that the current implementation is something of a mess visually. It manages to be cluttered even though its information density is really low. Simplicity is more than a design cue of Web 2.0. It’s a hallmark of the new Web culture and a major visual trend in its own right.
The success of the project hinges on whether social news works for vague demographic groups.’s take on daily news would serve an unmet need in the news marketplace, if they can keep a coherent audience identity as they grow. But the typical homepage user is (a) average and (b) passive. Can Netscape harness the interests of average, passive folks to produce a front page that is more compelling to other average folks than the ones produced by the editors at CNN, USAToday, and Yahoo?
Originally published on my blog at JupiterResearch.