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HANDHELD HEAVEN
Mobile media devices are flying off the shelves

Easy digital distribution has also detached content from its source. Internet protocols such as Really Simple Syndication (RSS) allow users to automatically gather items of interest from websites whenever they’re updated, in some cases reading or viewing them on a secondary site rather than visiting the original. Experts are working on new protocols that will deliver these updates faster. To deter piracy and gather audience statistics for advertising purposes (see “Bringing Advertisers Back”), new tools have been developed to track where people are talking about or consuming a piece of content.

Some media companies are embracing this distribution model by making it even easier to spread articles or videos around. They are creating application program interfaces, or APIs, that allow third-party developers to access their content and use it for products such as smart-phone applications, and media companies themselves are using APIs provided by social-­networking sites such as Facebook to publish content on those sites.

The combined effect of these technologies will be to bring new media together into a “real-time Web.” In this new environment, any piece of content produced will be discovered and discussed online almost instantaneously.

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Credits: David Sacks/Getty Images, Tommy McCall

Tagged: Communications

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