Radus Unveils Glossy Personal Media Hub - InformationWeek

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10/30/2008
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Radus Unveils Glossy Personal Media Hub

The startup aims to provide a consistent user experience for online media consumption, whether that involves reading news feeds, sharing content, blogging, or watching videos.


Radus Media Hub Browser

Radus Media Hub Browser
(click for larger image)

A startup called Radus -- pronounced "Radius," in defiance of common sense -- on Thursday introduced an eponymous media-aggregation service.

Radus aims to provide a consistent user experience for online media consumption, whether that involves reading news feeds, sharing content, blogging, or watching videos.

It is, in a nutshell, an interface. It's iGoogle or Netvibes covered in a rich media skin.

"Today, you're forced to jump between an endless array of news, entertainment, and social sites just to keep up," said Radus CEO Scott Rankine in a statement. "Radus solves this problem by offering consumers a new approach, one that brings together the best in online media and social networking in a way that’s visually stunning and remarkably easy to use."

Radus is at least visually pleasant. But it's something of a walled garden, at least from an Internet traffic perspective. Unlike iGoogle, which lets users assemble headlines from various news sources and then sends them to the source site when they click on a story link, Radus tries to keep the user in its own interface, insofar as the content from publishing partners is concerned.

Radus offers publishers a revenue-sharing arrangement, in exchange for the right to republish their content in its interface. To not do so would be to invite a copyright-infringement lawsuit. A spokesperson for the company argued that the online content industry is moving toward a syndication model, meaning that content is becoming more portable or less tied to a specific site. Details about the terms of this arrangement were not immediately available.

"Anything that's within our network is a commercial licensing opportunity," Rankine explained in a phone interview.

For user-chosen RSS feeds where no revenue sharing has been agreed upon, clicking on feed summary text opens a separate browser window and loads the source site. This avoids potential copyright claims, though it also removes the attractive Radus interface from the picture.

"That's your private world," Rankine said about out-of-network content.

The Radus Terms of Service Agreement advises potential users to "Click to view the Radus Privacy Policy." However, at the time this article was filed, there was no active link to click and the site's other pages do not provide any information about the site's privacy policy.

Rankine said that oversight would be addressed soon.

Radus offers a search function but it's primarily geared toward videos, photos, and blogs. It's not nearly as comprehensive as an Internet search engine. Rankine explained, "It's version one and it's going to get a lot smarter and more heuristic."

"We see a broad-base audience," Rankine said. "Obviously it's focused at techno-savvy people, but also it's designed to be extremely usable across the broad consuming public."

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