Google Newsmap, the timeless online news treemap that not so long ago inadvertly was shut down by Google, has recently undergone an significant update. What originally could be found at marumushi.com (old version) has been redesigned and relocated to newsmap.jp (new version). According to Marcos Weskamp's recent blog post, version 2.0's new features include:
- Rectangularized Treemap Layout: cells are as rectangular as possible, so that there is more room for headlines without chopping them off in several lines.
- Search as you Type: users can search for keywords on the top right, and Newsmap will update immediately.
- Deep Linking: users can "deep link" to any state of Newsmap. As the view is updated, the URL will update as well. This URL can copied and shared.
- Mouse Hover Newstip: news story summaries and accompanying photos are revealed when hovering over the headlines.
- One can also notice the miniscule "Google" logo, what makes me wonder whether Google has somehow endorsed the visualization?
More features are anticipated, including storing search queries as new tabs, adding personalized RSS feeds to the map, and personal maps, revealing how one consumes news stories through Newsmap.
So, what do you think of the redesign? While I appreciate the sophisticated new features, it seems the new version has somewhat less aesthetic appeal. Is it the washed-out color scheme? The more scientific looking rectangular algorithm? Or the convoluted treemap that results when too many options are selected?