It looks like there is a new news gathering/sharing service out there. Ohpan (pronounced ‘open’ I think) opened its doors to 2500 people recently.
Ohpan is a side scrolling interactive ticker that will become the easiest way to see the NOW web and get information and entertainment from far and wide. We bring it to you in bite sized pieces – breaking news, pictures, web links, blog posts, the weather, and more – all tuned for your interests. It learns from simple actions like opening and commenting, and is always trying to show you something new. Don’t like a topic or item? STRIKE IT. Love something and want to show it to friends? Re-Publish it to your feed. Ohpan is also about contributing and spreading ideas – feeling passionate? Be a content seeker for your network – easily make new items show up in friends feeds.
It’s been difficult to find information on the people behind Ohpan. The twitter stream of the guy who apparently made the thing doesn’t give much background. And the website of Atype Studios, the company that put this service together, doesn’t give much information either. I’m sure more details will come out soon though.
When you first access the site you are given the ability to link Ohpan to your facebook or Google account. Or, you can access the site as a guest. Regardless, within seconds you are off and running. The news begins scrolling across your screen and you can click on it, star it, strike it, or X it. Over time, Ohpan learns your preferences and feeds you the news you want to see. I’ve clicked an maybe a dozen or so items and I can tell arleady that the service has learned my prefernce for Tech news.
It is a very interesting way to get the news. It’s almost addictive as you might miss something good if you look away for too long. I could see this integrated with a service like Twitter or Facebook as a way for people to get news updates while still engaging their friends and followers, but having the option to click through for more information. More exciting is the forthcoming iPhone application that promises to breath new life into mobile news gathering.
If there are still invites available you can sign up using the access code on the original blog post.
UPDATE: I’ve been communicating with Simon Plashkes, the creator of Ohpan and got some more information from him.
It sounds like they have some really cool things planned for the near future. We talked about Google Reader integration, social applications, and advertising. Simon’s team is way on top of it.
Before long, you will be able to reccomend posts to the ophan stream from Google Reader which will then be seen by both the general public and your friends or followers or ohpans or ohpanites (whatever they end up calling it).
You will also see ads on the ohpan stream, but the cool things is you can strike ads and let ophan know which ads are good, and which ads need to go (very cool). Facebook has a similar feature on their side bar, but I dont think many people actually take the time to give a thumbs up or down to ads. But, with ohpan, you are already rating the stream, so taking it one step further and rating ads as well is no big deal.
And dont worry, they are aware of the performance issues and working on them.