First Look: MySpace News

MySpace News finally went live this morning — beta, of course — and the first impulse is to shrug. One reason: the pedestrian design of MySpace itself. (News isn’t in the main site nav yet.) The technology, built by FIM Labs on the foundation of acquisition NewRoo, is more complicated, mixing algorithmic aggregation by category and vertical with the ability of users — registered or not, it seems so far — to vote on a story’s value simply by clicking on it. Stories with the most votes get highlighted; you can push a story to the front right now with a dozen or so votes because of the newness of the service.

The aspect likely to cause some concern: clicking on stories takes you to that site’s page but within a MySpace frame. The idea is you use the top of the frame to vote and to navigate within MySpace News. It’s actually not a bad tool but framing — even the full-page version without MySpace ads (so far) — detracts from the target site. Within MySpace, News is designed as a destination with no way yet for users to set up widgets on their profile pages. There’s also no obvious way to share. FIM Labs’ Dan Strauss explains that the beta tag is meant to give users a chance to “tell us what they want, what they need” so features like that could follow.

Rafat adds: A half-hearted effort at best…the main news column is the same size as the ad/right column next to it…shows how they value this. And frames? 1997 all over again?