Daylife, a stylized news aggregator that is the closest thing we’ve seen to a webified newspaper, beta-launched this morning. Daylife is a meatier version of aggregators such as Google News, Topix.net, and Techmeme, offering tools for pivoting around information by story, characters, time, popularity, photos, and quotes, in a wide range of news categories.
Funded by old media and new media alike — “roughly twice as many investors as it has employees,” says paidContent — the company is perhaps best known for the involvement of media guru Jeff Jarvis and media bogeyman Craig Newmark.
While Daylife is engagingly pretty, it’s hard to comprehend as a whole, and it’ll take some learning to figure out how to use it. The company seems to understand this and has sent its data elsewhere to power the Huffington Post’s News Ranker and Treehugger’s grndx. This seems like a good direction, but the indexes have inadequate explanation of what makes something more newsworthy or more green, so they’re pretty much useless.
Daylife’s goals overpower what it’s doing, at least with the beta. It aims to “Make the news ecosystem more transparent and self-correcting, for the benefit of all involved,” “Develop new models for funding journalism,” and “Enable a civil discourse that is pragmatic, solutions-oriented, and doesn’t exaggerate divisions in favor of celebrating what unites us,” among other things.
Sounds great, but we don’t see any progress on these fronts so far. There’s not even any way for readers to comment on stories!
Update: Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, an investor in Daylife, pans it in a review on his site. He writes,
What makes Daylife stand out is not so much what it does well, but what’s been left out. There are no RSS feeds, even for your bookmarked stuff. Even worse, there’s no ability for users to leave comments on articles, a feature that has been wildly successful at NewsVine and Topix. And the fact that the news is gathered by humans, instead of the algorithmically determined news at Digg, means the company will always have a higher cost of doing business.