SkyGrid To Offer Free Version Of Real Time News Service. Future Of News Aggregation?

New York/Silicon Valley based SkyGrid offers users who are willing to pay a per seat license of $500/month a browser based premium real time news service that competes with super-profitable Bloomberg terminals and other services. The service first launched publicly in February 2008, and as of November 2008 the company said they had 100 paying customers.

The paid Skygrid service lets users personalize and filter the real time news stream from blogs and traditional new sites, and it also tries to detect “sentiment” via an algorithm that guesses what the tone of the article is. That’s a big plus for traders trying to make quick decisions on which way the market is going. Publications and authors are also ranked by authority.

But now, we’ve learned, the company is preparing to offer a free version of the service that anyone can use.

The paid version is really only attractive to private equity funds and individual traders that need a jump on the news to get better returns on stock trades. Few others are going to pay $500/month for a premium news service.

The free version, though, may be the future of news aggregation. Our understanding is that there is little attempt to cluster news items as Google News and TechMeme do to try and rank stories. Rather, it presents a personalized, filtered stream based on company, sector, topic and industry settings you make.

In the future you may go to sites like Google News and TechMeme to see what the important stories of the day are. But you’ll go to sites like SkyGrid to monitor all the important news around topics you care deeply about. As a blogger, I really look forward to the new service.