New rumours doing the rounds last week, hinted at a possible collaboration between Ask.com and Digg have come true. The two have jointly launched a portal called BigNews, which is a social news site not very different from Digg, Propeller, NewsVine, TechMeme or any of the other news aggregator sites that are already popular.
Stories on BigNews will be graded by a ‘BigFactor’, which is based on various indicators such as how recently the event occurred, availability of photographs, the impact created by it, the number of links generated, etc. Unlike Digg though, viewerâ€™s votes will not be allowed to directly affect the storyâ€™s rankings.
BigNews will provide top stories to Digg. In return, the top 5 Digg stories and 5 Digg articles that have not garnered any votes yet will be featured at the bottom of the BigNews page. A Blogviews section placed on the right, alongside the main stories, will highlight the latest posts and topics being discussed from popular sites like TechCrunch, CNN, USA Today and The Hollywood Gossip.
Every story on BigNews will include a BigFactor counter and a “Track” button on the upper right hand corner. Passing the mouse over the counter reveals information about the various factors contributing to the score. Clicking on the “Track” button opens a drop down list of popular news aggregators where the story can be followed, including Google, Yahoo! and even regular RSS. The story snippet also cites sources from which the story has been collected.
Ask have implemented this new sub-domain keeping in mind the true spirit of Universal Search. On the homepage visitors can view top news stories, blogs, videos, images and even Digg stories. In contrast, most of the other news aggregator sites stick to one or two result formats, usually text and images.
According to Ask.com, BigNews is a site for people who like to see different viewpoints to their story. For starters BigNews is reported to have more than 10,000 sources. Prominent among them are, The New York Times, USA Today, Fox News and MSNBC. BigNews has not yet released details on how other publishers can get add their news content. It is expected that such features will be made available shortly.