BarCamp Chennai Day 1: Taazza
Close to afternoon an interesting session on News 2.0 was presented by Arjun Ram at the BarCamp. Arjun is at present working on Taazza.com – Desh-Videsh-Sandesh. Taazza is a news aggregation service, meant for the Indian juntha, which is way ahead of Smachar.com (currently the most popular indianized news aggregation service). Most of us use google reader, Slashdot, News vine, Digg, Memorandum, Technorati, newsgattor etc to get our daily bit of news. Very often we find these news items are US/UK oriented and aren’t catering to our needs.
What if you wanted to find news pertinent to your city/town/native or better theme or even better people, which integrates Digg, tags, meme tracker and of course hot news? Enter Taazza!
‘Taazza’ in Hindi means ‘Fresh’, which is exactly what Arjun promises us. Most news site, have a standard format with loads of ads on matrimony flooding the place. Taazza however has a different and fresh feel to it. The whole idea of Taazza is to strip news sites down, make them readable and increase functionality.
Taazza integrates google maps, flickr and wikipedia and creates a wonderful mash up, something that other new aggregators have failed to do till date. How does this help? It helps in UI. The google maps that accompany your results have also been modded so that when you place your cursor at a prominent place, it shows you the news that’s making headlines there at that perticular moment. Wikipedia gives you almost every bit of static info that you require to know about a place/topic or even a famous personality related to the news item you are searching for. The flickr shows photos all over the world related to the searched items.
Now what makes Taazza stand out is it’s extremely efficient algorithm, which of course Arjun didn’t touch upon (What with some of his competitors in the same room). From what I gather Taazza picks up RSS feeds of various Indian online newspapers and websites including the Google-News which has about 600 news sources. Some prominent sources are: Times of India, NDTV news, Sify news, Indian express, Deccan Herald, The Hindu, BBC news – South Asia, Rediff News, Hindustan Times etc. They also have ‘cartoon of the day ‘, ‘quote of the day’ and ‘pic of the day’ embedded into their system for much needed diversion from daily routines.
There is a sleek maneuver with which you can prioritize your news results with a preticular time frame. Say you want the latest news on ‘Election at Chennai’: you enter the search term and on the left change the time period to 8 hours or 1 hour or what ever time frame you want your news to be from. It couldn’t get simpler.
The whole presentation was a demo on what Taazza will turn out to be. The service is not yet out, but is soon expected to be out. Please do check out Taazza.com and subscribe to their latest updates. While you are at it, check the screenshots on the same page, they look impressive.
Arjun and his team are also working on integrating podcast and blog-tracking into Taazza. Another interesting feature that Arjun mentioned that he is working on is the ‘Tea Kaddai’. In India, you dont have to buy a newspaper to know the latest in the world of politics and intown news. All you have to do is take a walk to a local Tea shop and sit there for sometime. Tea shops are the place where you can listen to various bits of news peices which are also pertinent and more over you get peoples opinions as the discussion ensues. The ‘Tea Kadai’ that Arjun is talking about, is on similar lines. Now this is some cool stuff. At our workplaces when we get those 15-20 mins. tea breaks, with one click you could have all the news pertinent to you flowing across the screen. No more clicks, no more browsing, no more squinting the eyes and no more skipping of ads.
Taazza 8th April – Demo Page (Not fully functional)
P.s. Arjun is also offering an iPod for the best review of Taazza. Get going!
Update: This review won the runner up at the best review contest. Thank Arjun!
Filed under: BarCamp, Entertainment, Fests, News, Reviews, Services, Techies | 17 Comments