In its first introduction of a consumer technology solution, The New York Times Company has launched the beta version of  ShifD.  The application, which is accessible on the Web, various mobile devices and on the desktop of Adobe Air, allows users to save links, notes and places.  Users can update and retrieve data through all these platforms.

Above is our interview with Times developers Nick Bilton and Michael Young, who created ShifD.  We taped this piece earlier this week at the Times headquarters.   

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The product is getting its industry debut later today in San Francisco at the Adobe Engage conference where Bilton and Young will present.  The conference will be a major introduction of Adobe Air. I will be there. 

ShifD was developed by the New York Times research and development department, the group which creates new functionality for the NYTimes.com and other company sites. 

An early version of ShifD was introduced at the BBC Yahoo Hack Day in London in June, where the two won first prize.  At the time, Duncan Riley at TechCrunch called it a "Clever Mobile App from the NY Times."  Here’s a Q&A with two. (The earlier version involved an RFID chip, but doesn’t now.)

Is the Times taking on Google or the smaller companies in the space?  Probably not, not immediately at least.  Michael Zimbalist, who heads R&D at the Times characterizes the beta launch is an "experiment." 

It will interesting to see how this develops.

— Andy Plesser

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