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Newsmap visualizes Google News, offers interesting differences between countries

With the rapidly increasing amount of data in our lives, visualization has become a new trend. Text has its limits, both cranially and in its ability to display large amounts of information. Visual tools have begun to emerge: Microsoft has Pivot, Firefox is trialling Panorama -- heck, almost every browser and operating system now visualizes data in some way or another.

Newsmap, however, is old. Like, 2004 old. I did a little research, though, and it doesn't look like anyone's covered it in the last few years -- which is odd, considering the monumental surge in Internet news output. Anyway: newsmap takes the entirety of Google News and visualizes it in an array of differently-sized boxes. The larger the box, the more 'related stories' that item has. Newer stories are highlighted.

Where newsmap comes into its own, however, is in its separation of categories. World, National, Business, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, and Health are all coloured differently so that you can see at a glance which category has more coverage. Then change the country and check out the difference. The U.S., for example, has a vast amount of Sports news, but relatively little World coverage. The UK has a stronger emphasis on Business and World news, with almost zero coverage of Health. Spain and Italy love their National news, and India and Australia have huge amounts of World news.

There's also the option of showing every country at once -- but that's no good unless you only display one category at a time. You can see every National news story for all 15 countries, for example.

Newsmap is a great tool for visualizing one of the most important aspects of the Web. Looking at it for just a few minutes every morning would massively increase your knowledge of what's going on in the world -- and that's exactly what I'm going to do!

Tags: flash, Internet, news, newsmap, visualization, Web

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