The popular online hangout MySpace is entering the news business with a feature that lets its users determine what items other members see.
MySpace News brings to a much larger audience the user-recommendation capabilities already available through Digg and Time Warner Inc.’s Netscape. It also marks the site’s further inroads into becoming an Internet portal akin to Yahoo Inc. and others.
Unlike Digg and Netscape, which rely heavily on user submissions, MySpace will also scan thousands of Web journals and news sites and group results by categories such as sports and politics. MySpace will go further than Google Inc.’s news offering by letting users vote on items, helping to determine what makes the front or section pages.
As part of the service, MySpace will pull and display headlines from the outside news sites, a practice that contributed to legal challenges against Google. The search engine leader recently reached a settlement with Agence France-Presse and earlier with The Associated Press, although no lawsuit had been filed by the AP.
MySpace, like Google, would let publishers exclude their items from the site, said Dan Strauss, whose group helped develop the news service. He also said MySpace would be helping to drive traffic to the news sites, bringing MySpace readers who might not otherwise be visiting.
The feature, which was expected to debut Thursday as a “beta” test, uses technology developed by Newroo, which MySpace parent News Corp. bought last year. Strauss said items from News Corp., which owns the Fox network and other media outlets, won’t get special treatment.