In an insert to readers May 2, the New York Times announced new upcoming features to nytimes.com. One was a personalization feature called "My Times," which will allow readers to create a personalized homepage, organize the stories and blogs they read, including those from outside sources.
The twist is that they will present "models" based on the homepages of their writers and editors, in order to show people how this can be useful. While there's no way to know if this will catch on, or if modeling on other people's expertise is the way to go, it is admirable that the Times is doing what many Web 2.0 companies refuse to do, which is spell it out for regular people how this can be useful to them. This will be an interesting test of news personalization at a very high level, as NYTimes.com is consistently one of the top American news sources, and if they execute this correctly it could cement their position even further.
This also goes to show that most web 2.0 companies are at risk of being overtaken by larger players who wait for them to test out various features, and then co-opt them for their own use, combining the tech ideas with their own knowledge of their readership. Note that NYTimes.com did not have to make a major purchase of technology to implement these features.