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Posted
2 April 2008 @ 3pm

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Naubo – A Google News Clone for Tech News

“How about we do a Google News clone just for Tech News that can take on Techmeme and Tailrank.”

“Sure – sounds good”

“And we can make it look exactly like Google News – and because it looks just like Google News, we can also just copy and paste their terms of service.”

“So true – let’s get to it.”

Somehow, this is how I imagine the conversation that started Naubo.com.

The site is, indeed, at first sight, a pure Google News clone (down to the color scheme and even the Naubo green looks a lot like the Google ‘l’ green).

And that is really a shame, because that first impression is going to drive a lot of people away from what is (if you look beyond the surface) an interesting service which launched officially today.

Naubo indexes the latest news stories, but it also differentiates them out between blogs and mainstream news sources (though some may argue that there really is no difference between them). I gather the ranking of the story is done somewhat similar to Techmeme’s ranking algorithm based on linkage from other blogs.

It also features a ‘Buzz Section,” with user submitted stories that are rated in a Reddit style fashion. The submission form is a bit too complicated and it would be nice to have a bookmarklet that could automate the multiple copy-and-pastes that are necessary right now.

Of course, no new site these days would be complete without a little social network attached and Naubo doesn’t disappoint. I can’t really vouch for the service as there aren’t really a lot of users around yet, but it seems about as fully features as would be necessary for a site like this.

Comparing Naubo

One thing that has always set Techmeme apart from the rest of the memetrackers was the freshness of the homepage. That is where Naubo needs some work still (and on a new design) – right now, there is still an April Fool’s story or two on the homepage, and those sit besides very recent stories as well as a webware.com story from 2006.

So should Gabe Rivera be scared? I don’t think so. A) Techmeme isn’t meant to be an all inclusive blog search/ranking/reddit clone and b) Gabe’s crawler is still superior to any of the competitors. Because of this, Naubo provides a good overview of the day’s stories but, at this point, isn’t always the most up to date on the most recent stories.

Also, Techmeme keeps things light and simple, with the social network being implicit in the links between blogs, but without memberships and other such baggage. Naubo, on the other hand, even allows you to comment on a story right on the site (though the implementation is a bit awkward: even when you are logged in, you still have to enter your name and email again…)

The other site Naubo needs to be compared to, of course, is Google News‘ tech section itself. Naubo is far more granular in the way it splits up stories and indexes more non-mainstream sources, yet Google News seems to be faster in picking up stories. However, the broader scope of Naubo gives it more depth and, at the same time, focus because of its different categories and the use of tags.

With some more focus on the details, I can see Naubo become a very useful service. If only they hadn’t just cloned the Google News interface…

naubo

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