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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 June 2006, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
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A new feature for the BBC News website
By Steve Herrmann
Editor, BBC News Interactive

The most read and e-mailed stories appear on all story pages

From this week we will be bringing you some revealing new insights into how people around the world are using the BBC News website.

For the first time you will be able to see which stories on our site people are reading and emailing to their friends, which video clips they are watching, and how this changes minute-by-minute through the day.

By gathering this information in real time and making it available to you in new ways, the BBC News Interactive development and design teams have come up with a significant innovation in the way our content is presented.

The information will be available via a module on the front page and on the right hand side of every story on the site.

Most popular

But what will make it different from headline information of this kind offered by other sites, is the depth of information that will be made available immediately on a new Most Popular Now page.

The first thing you'll see on this page is a map of the world and a list of the ten most popular stories read by BBC News website users across the world. This is generated within seconds of the actual pages being read.

Most Popular Now shows the most popular stories around the world
Most Popular Now highlights the most read stories around the world

Click on a continent and you can watch the list dynamically reorder to reflect the most popular stories in that region.

There is also a traffic monitor that measures the live news consumption and indicates whether it is a quieter or busier day than average.

Readers can delve into a week-long archive of text and audio video clips, section-by-section.

And for those interested in how the news agenda moves through the day, we have a novel way of showing this too.

Click on the 'Most popular - Day so far' tab and see how traffic volumes change in hourly intervals throughout the day. For each hour you can also find out which were the most popular stories in text and audio and video.


These features are all generated from the new BBC News Live Stats system.

Gareth Owen, the chief architect of the system, says he reviewed commercially available systems and decided we could achieve better and more cost effective results by building a tailored system in-house.

Information is collected on every request via a piece of code placed on every page within the site.

This data is sampled so that processing and publishing can happen in real time, he says, and the sample rate has been carefully chosen to maintain the integrity of the data.

Visitors' privacy is something we take very seriously. Anthony Sullivan, product manager for the work, says no personally identifiable information is stored by the system.

"Geographical region data is based on IP address using a 3rd party geolocation service" he says. "IP addresses are immediately converted to the matching country and the IP data is deleted." And data is only kept in the system for a maximum of 24 hours.

A range of tools using this system is also being developed for our journalists across BBC News.

Knowing what is of most interest to audiences in real time will be another way for journalists to gauge the impact and effectiveness of our news coverage.

We hope you like this new addition to our site. As ever we would like your feedback. Please tell us what you think of the changes using the form below.

Your E-mail address

The comments you supply via BBC Newswatch may be edited and published on any BBC media worldwide, but we do not guarantee all comments will be published. Please state in your email if you do not want your comments published. If appropriate, we may reply to your email or contact you for clarification. While we try to read all e-mails, we cannot guarantee a response. Your details will not be given to anyone outside the BBC without your permission.


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