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New York Times creates Google Labs-like experimental projects site

The world’s largest newspaper website is embracing avant-garde online technology with the launch of an experimental projects website called beta620.

The site will be home to innovative new projects created by New York Times developers and a place where readers can try out, suggest and collaborate on new products and ideas.

“Many of these projects will live only on beta620,” said The New York Times in a welcome post on the beta620 website. “But a few, like the innovative Times Skimmer, which started out as an entry in one of our internal technology contests, will ‘graduate’ to become full-fledged products on our main site or our mobile apps.”

Current projects include a sped up and simplified search experience called TimesInstant, a dashboard of recommendations and reviews sourced from daily social activity on NYTimes.com called Community Hub and the NYTimes Crossword HTML5 Web App.

The beta620 site was no doubt inspired by Google’s own experimental projects site Google Labs. The much-loved (but soon to be phased out) initiative was created so more adventurous users could “[p]lay around with prototypes of some of Google's wild and crazy ideas and offer feedback directly to the engineers who developed them.”

To play with The New York Times’ latest experiments on beta620 visit http://beta620.nytimes.com/.