Times adds to readers' content-sharing options

NEW YORK: The New York Times Co. has launched the beta version of ShifD, a program that duplicates saved content between computers and mobile devices via a personalized account.

NEW YORK: The New York Times Co. has launched the beta version of ShifD, a program that duplicates saved content between computers and mobile devices via a personalized account.

Launched in beta on February 25, ShifD allows readers to move content between computers and mobile devices via Adobe's recently released AIR application. Users can change information on all devices by updating accounts.

Nick Bilton, Times Co. design integration editor, user interface specialist, and ShifD co-developer, said that the free download will also help readers easily reach online content, such as articles.

"A classic problem is how to shift content between devices, including tabs that pop up on your browser and links to articles that you want to read, but haven't had a chance to. Most people copy and paste them into an e-mail that they send themselves," he said. "If you were reading a newspaper, you could just clip out the address of a place you wanted to check out or a book you wanted to buy."

The New York Times Co. is just one of a group of publishers that have created or acquired tools that can help users sort and manage content from a number of sources, including those unaffiliated with the publisher.

Three years ago, CNET launched the now-defunct Newsburst, a free service that tracked articles, blog posts, and alerts. CondŽ Nast bought Reddit, a user-generated news site, in October 2006.

The Times Co., which is targeting users of multiple computers or mobile devices with the application, will handle PR through its corporate communications team, said Bilton and Michael Young, Times Co. creative technologist and ShifD co-developer.

The media giant, which also operates The Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune, and About.com, does not yet have a campaign in place to market the application, noted Bilton.

"I'm sure when we get to [version] 1.0 with this, we'll do something," he added, "but that's a bit ahead of us right now to figure out."

The company has not set a re-lease date for the application's official version, which will also be used to transfer data, such as notes, links, or directions, from company-owned sources or other points of origin, noted Young.

"Part of our mission is to explore new technologies outside of Times brands," he said. "We're working out any kinks there might be and then adding all of the new features in the next month or two."

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