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Google News may accelerate the collapse of mainstream, one-size-fits-all news, but it will not replace it with something better. It is not the future of news. 9/4/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Uncategorized.
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There is a false, implicit assumption being made by those who fear that Google News will soon dominate all of news, and who see its contract to feature only original AP stories as a milestone along that path. That assumption is that news consumers actually LIKE these AP stories — that they prefer them because they are objective and accurate. That seems like quite a leap of faith given the recent Pew Research Center survey showing that 64% of Internet users think this news is politically biased and 59% think it is inaccurate.

But perhaps a bigger obstacle to Google News is that people simply don’t live their lives consulting search engines every time they need to make a decision — including which news to choose. Over time, news consumers will select among multitudes of web-based news outlets, and give preference to those which reflect their worldviews. They will be attracted to one news outlet over another by the irreplaceable editorial judgments of flesh-and-blood human editors, not by the algorithms of machines.

For now, by eliminating many AP members’ duplicate stories, Google News will accelerate the winnowing-out process, so that only the best of the “objective and accurate” news outlets survive. But if Google were serious about becoming a serious player in news, they’d have to replace some of their search engines with search humans. There is not a hint that this is what they plan to do.

Comments»

1. Adam - 9/4/07

Heck, I don’t ever use the thing. My Google Reader account makes it easy to access information on a daily basis–I’ve got dozens of subscriptions and I’m always adding more. It includes everything from blogs to webcomics (so much for the Sunday paper) to Wikinews.

I agree with you that Google News and Yahoo’s longer-standing equivalent are not the wave of the future.

2. Google’s Wake Up Call to Newspapers - 9/6/07

[…] News is not a significant source of traffic to newspapers and thus this move might not mean much to them in the short term. It has however raised awareness of diminishing value of newspapers […]


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