The article is on personalized news. An excerpt from the introduction:
So far, few newspaper sites look different from the pulp-and-ink papers that spawned them. Editors still manually choose and lay out news stories. Often, the front page changes only once a day, just like the print version, and it shows the same news to all readers.The article goes on to discuss recommender systems in general, the techniques used by Findory and Google News, and the long-term goal of personalizing information.
There's no need for that uniformity. Every time a Web server generates a news page, for example, in response to a reader's clicking on a link, it can create that page from scratch. An online news site can change minute by minute. And it can even generate different front pages, essentially producing millions of distinct editions, each one targeting just one person -- you.
The most interesting and important way to customize a site is to create a page of stories based on your unique interests culled from information about your past reading behavior. There's already a model for that -- the recommendation systems used by Amazon, TiVo, and Netflix. Using information on past purchases, movie ratings, or items viewed, these systems steer consumers to items from among the thousands or millions they have on offer. Newspapers can and should borrow this idea.
It could transform the industry. Based on articles viewed, these systems could highlight the ones they think a reader would find most interesting, even presenting them in order, with the most interesting article first. No longer would readers have to skim pages of news to find what they needed. No longer would reporters have to battle for the limited space on the front page.