Newsflashr.com has an interesting new way to look at topics in the news. It’s called a “tag cloud.” A box at one side of the page contains dozens of key words and phrases: like Iraq, fake Ferraris, crisis, etc. Click on one and you get links to stories from many sources. New stories have their subject in pink, older stories are in blue. But no stories are more than seven hours old.

You don’t have to know what to search for; if you see a word or phrase in the cloud that seems interesting, just click it. We clicked on “one child,” for example, and learned that the government of China may scrap its one-child-per-couple policy.

We found this to be a very interesting way of looking at things and quick to scan; we’re going to put a topics cloud on our own Web page. We think this kind of topic cloud will become common soon. It offers what’s always been missing from searches: serendipity. Just like browsing books in a library, you don’t always know exactly what you want, but you get that “aha” feeling when you see it.

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