The Huffington Post will launch a British edition this summer, its founder announced in London, in what could be the first of a raft of international versions of the blogging site.
Speaking at the Guardian Changing Media Summit alongside AOL’s chief executive, Tim Armstrong, Arianna Huffington showed off designs for the localised edition of the popular news and comment site, which was acquired by AOL for $315m last month.
The UK edition will initially be a localised homepage with more British content, before linking to further content on the regular site.
Before the AOL deal, HuffPost had been planning to launch sites targeted at French and Brazilian readers, and that remains an ambition, Ms Huffington said. Local editions already exist in some American cities and Focus, a German news magazine, provides German translations of some HuffPost stories on its site.
“Self expression has become the new entertainment,” she told the conference, likening HuffPost’s celebrity bloggers to making an appearance on a discussion TV show such as the BBC’s Newsnight.
AOL hired 1,200 journalists last year, Mr Armstrong said, with 100 of them in the UK already. Some of these could provide content for the local edition of HuffPost, an AOL spokesperson said, but the company may also be hiring here.
However, AOL has recently announced the departure of 900 staff as part of a restructuring after the HuffPost deal. Content from the two companies’ large network of sites is already being combined and rebranded so that, for example, AOL Travel now includes stories from HuffPost’s travel section.
The two companies’ editorial and technology teams are shortly moving into same floor at AOL’s offices, highlighting the importance of the two working together, Ms Huffington said.
Speaking at the same conference, Foursquare’s chief executive Dennis Crowley said that it was planning to use near-field communication technology in future versions of its mobile app, to enable users to check-in “by bump” to locations they visit. NFC is already built into some smartphones, such as Google’s Nexus S, and may be in Apple’s next iPhone.
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