Silobreaker: The Future of Online News?

Found Silobreaker this morning via Doc Searls blog. It’s a news aggregator with a semantic layer on top. It also has a very interesting user interface, makes me feel like it’s a newspaper from the year 2015.

Silobreaker home page

According to their web site, “Silobreaker is an online search service for news and current events that delivers meaning and relevance beyond traditional search and aggregation engines. Its relational analysis and explanatory graphics provide users with unparalleled contextual insight into the news stories of the day. More than a news aggregator, Silobreaker provides relevance by looking at the data it finds like a person does. It recognises people, companies, topics, places and keywords; understands how they relate to each other in the news flow, and puts them in context for the user.” This page explains the technology behind their engine.

I especially like the semantic tools that help the readers make sense of the showcased news. The “network” helps you explore the relations between entities, the “Hotspots” feature allows exploration at a geo-location level, and “Trends” graphs the evolution of certain keywords in time.

Network

For example, explore news about “facebook” through the various keywords attached. Pretty cool!

What it means: one of the big challenges of the future will be making sense of the deluge of news information found on the Web. I think Silobreaker is a step in the right direction. There’s definitely a need for some improvements to make it really useful to me as a news junkie. Right now, it feels too much like one of those hypernational news sources (CNN, New York Times, etc.). Those sites already do a good job of aggregating top of the news information. I’d love to be able to save a specific country or region as my default page and I would like to be able to quickly drill down from the home page to various topics/sub-regions. Wouldn’t this tool be amazing from a hyperlocal point of view, especially the network search? Being able to see the various relationships in your own neighborhood news! Can someone do a mashup between Topix and Silobreaker?

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