SiliconFilter

Jux: Blogging in HD

/

Blogs and microblogs, for the most part, all look pretty much the same these days. Jux, however, wants to bring a new look to blogs. According to the company own mission statement, “blogs and websites have mostly accumulated clutter” since their inception. While I can’t fully agree with that, the company’s approach to presenting content sure makes for a visually stunning experience. Instead of traditional posts and pages, Jux presents users with a distraction-free fullscreen view of every article, quote, video and slideshow. There are no ads on the site.

The focus here is clearly on large images (including slideshows), but Jux also offers templates for posting long articles and short quotes. If you are into video, there is also an option to embed YouTube clips. While you can’t embed other peoples’ posts on your own blog, you do get the option to do so with your own posts.

One thing the Jux team doesn’t seem to be interested in, though, is adding many social features to the site. There is no commenting function, for example, and you can’t follow other users’ posts.

There is really little point in describing what the site looks like here. Just head over there and check out a few examples. Setting up your own blog on Jux is about as easy as it could be. The interface for posting content, too, shows a considerable amount of polish for such a new product.

Is it really going to change the way you blog? Is Jux good enough to make you switch away from Tumblr or Posterous (and the community there)? I’m not sure, but it’s nice to see a service that tries to push the casual blogging concept forward.



3:59 pm


Google’s Search Results Now Highlight Content Creators

/

When it comes to figuring out which search result you want to click on, chances are, you gravitate toward the first three links. These days, however, Google and Microsoft are also adding more social signals to their search results pages to give their searchers a better idea of what their friends may have liked. Today, Google is adding yet another layer to its search results that should help users identify interesting content. Results that feature content from authors at a select number of news sources and blogs will now prominently feature the author’s name and Google Profile image next to the search results (including our own little blog here, which was part of the pilot). This is meant to help Google’s users identify interesting new content from people the company trusts.

How Google Identifies Authors

In order to get this to work, writers will have to ensure that they have a Google Profile that is linked to their sites and that they use Google’s new authorship markup (specifically, the rel=”author” tag) to ensure that Google knows who wrote any given story on your site. A number of large sites, including the New York Times, have already implemented the necessary tags to highlight their authors. Adding the necessary tags to most blogs should be relatively easy for most writers, too, but for the time being, this new feature is just available in a limited pilot, though Google expects to expand this program over time.

Google, of course, has been struggling to prevent the mediocre content that most of today’s content farms push out from polluting its search results. With the recent updates to its search algorithms, it has made some strides in this direction. While it’s not directly linked to weeding out content farms, this new feature is meant to highlight content from people Google trusts. Indeed, Google argues that its users will trust content more when they know the writer and – at the same time – writers will hopefully do a better job at writing when they know their name is prominently linked to their stories.



10:01 pm


Guardian Plans to Create New Tech & Media Blog Network, Swap Articles With Blogs

/

The Guardian plans to create a new network of tech and media blogs. According to the newspaper’s head of media and technology Dan Sabbagh, this new network would work with two very distinct models. The first is a non-commercial agreement that will allow the Guardian to republish articles from the blogs in its network. In return, these blogs will be allowed to republish Guardian articles on their sites as well (up to the swap limit). In addition to this, the Guardian also plans a commercial offering where the organization would also sell ads for some of the blogs in its network (or even host the sites outright and share revenue).

As Sabbagh puts it, the Guardian doesn’t want to replicate the closed paywall model of Rupert Murdoch’s sites and the “traditional newspaper model, where editorial control comes from the top down, where the content is produced by a narrow group of professionals and the readership is similarly elitist.” What the Guardian strives for instead, says Sabbagh, is an “open approach” where there are “no barriers for readers, which encourages mass audiences.”

Content Sharing

The non-commercial content-sharing agreement would allow bloggers in the Guardian’s network to republish one newspaper for every article the paper chooses to publish on its site. Writers will also get the SEO benefits of links from the Guardian and name recognition. Unlike the Huffington Post model, this concept relies on what feels like a relatively fair form of sharing (the Guardian keeps the upper hand, though – after all, the paper won’t publish one of your articles in return for every post you copy from it).

A Farm League for the Guardian?

It’s clear, though, that the Guardian also sees this model as a form of farm league for bringing individual bloggers into its own stable in the long run. Sabbagh only hints at this in his announcement, but the idea that the paper could host some bloggers on the papers site clearly points in this direction.

Other papers, including the New York Times, currently have syndication agreements with large tech blogs like ReadWriteWeb, VentureBeat, GigaOm and TechCrunch. None of these agreements allow the blogs to republish any content from the newspaper sites, though.

Interested?

The Guardian encourages bloggers with “healthy traffic (five figures at least)” who would like to join this program to email [email protected] with “a link to the site, some details about who you are and what you do, and some traffic information.”



11:40 pm