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July 18, 2010

The paradox of "Google News"--or, how AYR original content appears in Google News only when someone else borrows it

Atlantic Yards Report

A Google search has become a critical part of almost everyone's on-line experience, but when it comes to news, and particularly to Atlantic Yards, Google's approach to what is news could probably stand to be improved. For example, press releases are treated as "news" while stand-alone journalists, can only show up as bloggers.

Google, which is based on algorithms rather them whims, should get it right, or at least be consistent, right?

It depends where you look.

If you search on "Atlantic Yards" in Google Blogs, not only do Atlantic Yards Report posts and articles appear in the list, but AYR gets prominence up top, as shown in this screenshot from July 11.


But if you search on "Atlantic Yards" in Google News, AYR is ignored.

That's because Google News algorithms exclude sites written and maintained by one person, no matter the quality or reputation.

There's surely the logic behind the rule, and it would be difficult to police, but it disserves readers.

Google News includes self-serving press releases, which, however labeled, are less likely to provide solid information than legitimate standalone journalism, a concept that's more than five years old

And it leads to absurd results, because Google News includes news articles that are partly based on AYR--such as several Gothamist posts in Google News--or nearly completely based on it, such as:

Click on the link for further insight into Google's policies, and see that one way around the exclusion of blogs is to reference blog content in comments on news items.


Posted by steve at July 18, 2010 7:55 AM