NYTimes Gets Web 2.0 Technology; But …

Over the past two years the NYTimes has been showing an evergrowing Web 2.0 savvy. Like many of its large newspaper cohorts, the NYTimes is using such Web 2.0 fixtures as tabs, scrollers and accordions to make quick access to multiple stories on a single page. Its photo galleries use nifty Flash-enabled slideshow viewers.

But of late the NYTimes is stepping well beyond the “newspaper norm” and has been incorporating ever more sophisticated Web components and designs in the presentation of its news. Take the Business section:

The NYTimes portfolio app, stock screener, and analysis tools are as good as [if not better than] the best from the likes of CNBC, Morningstar or Google Finance. And there are plenty of supporting financial components:

These are savvy tools yet they are also very approachable. For stocks and financial analysis the NYTimes Business section has become my goto work environ – and iyts available for the cost of free registering.

The NYTimes has lots of extra goodies. Take the simple tab Summary of Markets:

Users can quickly move through the tabs and see a graphic summary of the markets they are interested in – and the time delay is not at all or minimal.

But the Web 2,0 sophistication does not end here. Take a look at the new Times Skimmer – which allows readers to scan through articles in the digital pages very quickly and efficiently:

The Skimmer has 3-4 different layouts which users can customize to scan through the Times very comfortably.

In sum, the NYTimes is using more and more sophisticated Web 2.0 tools to make its “All the news fit to print” much more approachable. So the NYTimes certainly gets the Tech/RIA side of Web 2.0 very well. But on the Social Networking side – not so well In effect, the NYTimes is still taking baby steps.

Social Networking Missteps

Yes there are more and more blogs which attract a steady stream of loyal readers to such info-venues as Goal, Living Lens and DealBook among 2 dozen very good blogs. Each of the blogs cultivates its readership with moderated comments, questions and highlights. And the NYTimes has its own social networking section, Times People.

But …. Times People does not fully connect yet. Not like other social networking sites like Facebook, Linkedln or even Business Week’s Business Exchange. First, Times People has no links to any of the popular Web Networks like Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Linkedln, etc. Second you cannot recommend anything other than NYTimes articles to your fellow Times People. In fact you cannot easily point/link to other media and info sources easily within Times People [Hint to Times People people – take a look at Business Week’s Business Exchange, Aaardvark.com, and Ning.com for just a small sampler of Open Social Networking sites and what they offer their subscribers/members].

Finally, Times People does not integrate well a) with the NYTimes set of blogs nor b)with the great components and tools available in the other sections of the newspaper. I would love to use the NYTimes business and financial portfolio tools and results to make a point in any of the NYTimes blogs as well as Times People. Most of all I would love to have access to say SEC Edgar Financial figures, Wharton Economic data, Wolfram Web Alpha and other economic and social indicators so I could quickly fact check and/or marshal arguments

So give the NYTimes top marks for mastering the Web 2.0 components and mashables; but give the NYTimes only passing marks on mastering the People and Social Networking side of the Web. However, the social side is the toughest to tame – and given the rapid development of the RIA side, I fully expect the NYTimes with its great content and idea leaders to emerge as a major digital presence based on its “community for ideas” offerings.