N.Y. Times Unveils Mobile-To-PC App

Feb 25, 2008 (11:02 AM EST)

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The New York Times Company has introduced in beta an application that people can use to move content between their computers and mobile devices.

The idea behind ShifD is to eliminate the need to save information separately on devices. People can update information from a Web browser, by text message from a mobile phone, through a mobile Web browser, or by using the downloadable desktop application, which has all the same functionality as the ShifD Web site.

Information saved to a person's ShifD account is automatically updated on all devices. For the beta launch, people can add and save content in three categories: notes, links, and places, the Times said. The first category refers to everything from a grocery list to book titles, the second is links to articles or sites on the Web, and the third applies to saving addresses with corresponding maps found on the Internet.

"We see a future for device-independent media, with convergence around the user experience and not any particular delivery platform," Michael Zimbalist, VP of research and development operations for the Times, said in a statement released Sunday. "Developing services that allow users to access content wherever they are and on whichever device they choose is an important part of our strategy."

ShifD is a reflection of how newspapers are trying to make better use of the Web to attract readers and eventually expand ad channels. Newspapers have steadily lost ad revenue to the Web, and if current trends continue, Internet advertising will eclipse newspapers as the largest advertising medium by 2011, according to private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson.

The fastest-growing media segments in the next five years will be Internet and mobile services, branded entertainment, out-of-home media, outsourced custom publishing, and public relations, VSS said.