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08 October 2002 @ 01:49 pm
I know some of you have a weakness for puppies  
But I say that Google is man's best friend. I mean, you have the search engine, the directory, the news service, the image search....
*sigh*
It would almost be worth moving to California, if they would hire me.
 
 
 
Jim: karandraswarpdragon on October 8th, 2002 02:44 pm (UTC)
Sell me. How is Google's news service any different than the one hundred seventy-nine million "news services" already out there?
St. Sean the Amusedseanb on October 8th, 2002 03:27 pm (UTC)
Have you tried it? Even once?
Really? I wasn't aware that there were ANY other auto-generated news services which pull together articles from 4000 news sources and provide a reliable, searchable interface to real-time news, much less one hundred seventy-nine million.

Unlike Yahoo News (for example), Google news is little more than a deeply-linked index of stories which are "hot" in several news sites. Google News makes it easy for you to see how different news services are covering the same story, since they usually provide several links to the "same" story on different sites. Associated with each story is a "related" link, which helps you delve into the history of that story.

For example, my cousin was in the middle of the current mess in the Ivory Coast. With Google News, I was easily able ot keep track of the developing story, and quickly found several good articles on it, including from the BBC (where I would have searched anyway), the South Africa Times, and the Christian Science Monitor (which I've discovered actually has news, which was a shock for me).
Jim: karandraswarpdragon on October 8th, 2002 04:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Have you tried it? Even once?
Well, see, that was a sell. I hadn't tried it, because "news service" is a pretty wide-open label. The Associated Press is a news service, and I'm not too hot on them these days. And all I see is the tab that says "News-New!" on Google when I'm already on my way to type in "Thrill Kill Kult discography."

There may not be one hundred seventy nine million, three hundred fifty-two thousand, one hundred eighty-two news services that do all that Googly stuff, there are that many web sites for "news services."

I'd have to give it a few tries, to see how well it does with interesting topics. 4,000 news sources seems like a lot, but is it really? Can it give the same kind of results for, say, Referendum 51 or farm buffers, as it did for the Cote d'Ivoire story? (You can tell I'm a snob because I call it Cote d'Ivoire instead of Ivory Coast. But at least I don't put the diacriticals on.)

Does Google work for a primary news source?

Well, I'll go try it and see what I think.
St. Sean the Amusedseanb on October 8th, 2002 04:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Have you tried it? Even once?
Well, here are the search results on Referandum 51, including an article from this morning's Bremerton Sun, mainstream KOMO stuff, and discussion of how Truckers feel about it from the Spokane Journal of Business.
Jimwarpdragon on October 8th, 2002 05:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Have you tried it? Even once?
I just looked at it, and... hm. It pulls together a bunch of sources, yes, and I guess that's significant. But the algorithm needs some fine-tuning. Like, a story about an attack on U.S. servicemen in Kuwait was at the bottom of the page with only international sources. Um, no U.S. outlet has picked that up?

The layout is very nice though. And it seems like it's as good as any national news source. Anyone relying on it as their absolute news source will miss out on local coverage, but that's no different from any other national news page.
St. Sean the Amusedseanb on October 8th, 2002 05:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Have you tried it? Even once?
Yes, I would like to see the localization improved. Obviously, they do scan a lot of local news sources, so I don't imagine it would be too difficult for them to add some sort of a "Local" page (using user-submitted l10n info, or some sort of a (bookmarkable) heirarchical drill-down).

The other major complaint is that they provide a "U.S." news, but do not offer a way to change that for users who live in (or are otherwise primarily fascinated with) other countries. Their design philosophy seems to be very minimalist, so I doubt they will have user logins for this kind of thing. About the time Google News makes it out of Beta, I won't be surprised if they add things to the preferences page to allow for more local stuff.
Jim: karandraswarpdragon on October 8th, 2002 07:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Have you tried it? Even once?
They might not want to. They point out that the page is generated without a human editor (which means that it's a fancy way of collecting the votes by a scattered committee of human editors). The more local you get, the fewer sources you get, and the closer you get to single human editors having an influence on the news it presents, which is what Google is trying to avoid.

If it were customizable like the Yahoo page, I'd prefer it, since Yahoo's methods of deciding what the headlines are suck ass.