Obvious Corp. introduces Medium, a new go at evolving Web media

medium been there loved thatWhen the early Twitter team composed of co-founders Biz Stone, Ev Williams, and early staffer Jason Goldman announced they would be relaunching their Obvious Corp. incubator this past Spring, the first product we heard anything about was the Quora-meets-Twitter Branch — but now it’s clear there is plenty more in the Obvious Corp. arsenal.

Yesterday, the team peeled back the wraps on Medium, a user-friendly, visually-heavy Web publishing platform. “[We] decided to take on the project of building a new publishing platform from scratch, not just because it’s in our wheelhouse, but because we believe publishing – and media, more broadly – is important,” Obvious Corp announced via blog. “…Medium is designed to allow people to choose the level of contribution they prefer.”

Thus far, only a select handful of Medium users have posting abilities, but the team has invited the world to come on in and take a look. The interface is simple as could be, and posted content is segmented by popularity and by how new it is. While you currently can’t use Medium for publishing your own content, everyone is able to comment and hit “like” on what’s currently available.

medium example

It should be obvious (no pun intended) right away that this is a next-gen blogging tool. Making a play for the CMS market is a smart one, as the Web publishing industry as a whole has grown rather complacent. WordPress, hands down, no arguments, dominates — it powers more than 16 percent of all Websites, at last count. And if we’re being honest here, there are no real competitors that can sway professional-level publishers away from WordPress. Tumblr, for all of its inherent usefulness and aesthetic appeal, doesn’t have the back-end capabilities that major media outlets need.

We’re at a crossroads with Web publishing, where curating, sharing, re-posting, and discovery are just as vital to a network as producing compelling content is. Medium uses the increasingly familiar tiles-on-canvas interface that Pinterest helped popularize, and big, browser-filling images that are quickly becoming a Web-wide staple. It actually reminds me of Jux quite a bit. There’s more focus on the topics – or collections, as Medium calls them – than the writers, which doesn’t speak much to its adoption as a WordPress killer.

But Medium probably isn’t trying to be a WordPress killer; no one has much interest in such a futile endeavor. Usually when a new Web product launches, it’s to capitalize on an emptiness in the market, or offer a better option to what’s currently available, and that doesn’t feel like what Medium is trying to do. Instead, Obvious Corp. seems to be trying to evolve the conversation about blogging and Web communication with Medium; it’s a gentle nudge in a new direction. Whether we’re receptive or not remains to be seen. 

Emerging Tech

Twitter is officially a teenager now. Are we raising a monster?

On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey sent the first ever tweet. Thirteen years later, Twitter has fundamentally changed the way we communicate. Here are some of the myriad ways it's done that.
Computing

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.
Computing

Confused about RSS? Don't be. Here's what it is and how to use it

What is an RSS feed, anyway? This traditional method of following online news is still plenty useful. Let's take a look at what RSS means, and what advantages it has in today's busy world.
Social Media

New Zealand attack shows that as A.I. filters get smarter, so do violators

The shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand were livestreamed to social media, and while stats show networks are improving at removing offending videos, as the system improves, so do the violators' workarounds.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.
Gaming

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.
Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.
Computing

There’s more space on MySpace after ‘accidental’ wipe of 50 million songs

MySpace is no longer a safe refuge for music and media produced in the 2000s. It said that almost any artistic content uploaded to the site between 2003 and 2015 may have been lost as part of a server migration last year.
Computing

Intel and Facebook team up to give Cooper Lake an artificial intelligence boost

Intel's upcoming Cooper Lake microarchitecture will be getting a boost when it comes to artificial intelligence processes, thanks to a partnership with Facebook. The results are CPUs that are able to work faster.
Photography

Insta-checkout? New Instagram service lets you shop without leaving the platform

Shopping on Instagram no longer means leaving the platform to checkout in a web browser. Instagram checkout launched in beta today with a handful of retailers, allowing users to checkout without leaving the app.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. But with so many subreddits to choose from, exploring them can be overwhelming. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.