Microsoft Research has its hands in a lot of projects, including some that might not be considered by others to be of interest to the company. Many of those projects come from Fuse Labs, including the Socl social network. This week, another project from Fuse Labs, NewsPad, is now available for anyone to use as an open source effort.
The Fuse Labs blog reveals that NewsPad began as a project from MIT graduate student Nathan Matias as a way to help improve news sites run by local communities instead of larger media organizations like newspapers. The software allows for several people to collaborate and edit stories in real time, including headlines, articles, image links and more.
The development of NewsPad was helped by another Microsoft Research project called Whooly, which aggregated Twitter posts from specific communities in the Seattle area. The blog states:
Even if conversation was mostly happening among bloggers, business, government, and law enforcement, the Twitter network reflected shared awareness that could then be passed on to a blog’s audience. NewsPad, with its system of social requests, capitalizes on these existing networks. Even if your neighborhood blogger or the corner shop doesn’t have an answer, they can retweet it to others in the community who might. Those people can then cooperate to finish a story without taking up the blogger’s limited time.
Microsoft is taking request from local bloggers who want to test NewsPad for their own community web pages and it would also like to chat with news organizations and software developers to see if NewsPad's features can be expanded.