The initial flurry of press touted News.me as The New York Times’ answer to the Murdoch-Jobs tablet newspaper The Daily. Turns out those reports were a tad innacurate. The New York Times has already confirmed that the News.me app was an R&D project sold to Betaworks in exchange for Bit.ly equity. The Betaworks guys are now smoothing out its wrinkles for its inevitable release. Here’s what a New York Times spokesperson told a Techcrunch journo about News.me’s origins:
“It was a protoype designed in our R&D labs. We learned that the product concept fit well with bit.ly and betaworks, and we were able to craft a deal in which the prototype was purchased in exchange for equity in bit.ly. Additionally, as part of the deal, a team of developers from R&D worked at bit.ly to help bring the product to market.”
The Betaworks helmed app isn’t exactly another iPad newspaper. Instead it aggregates news based on what your Twitter friends are reading. This means that unlike The Daily, there won’t be a staff of journalists feeding it original content. Even the New York Times itself expects its stories to become part of the smorgasbord News.me will serve its subscribers. Since this means content is being licensed, News.me will be a paid subscription rather than a free app.
As of this writing there is still no news on when News.me will debut but expect it to any day now.