The Hypocrisy of Google News

7 comments
Source Title:
Speaking of Google News: Open Up, Open Up!
Story Text:

As with many other things to do with Google and their often quite blatantly hypocritical, and uneven practices, many people out there seem very scared to say anything about it. Not all for sure, but most people would no sooner say boo to Google than cut their right arm off. I suspect this is due to two very human, and very understandable factors: Fear, and Greed...

Boo!

Rafat, over at paidcontent, was rejected by Google News again and he posts the response he got from them, which im going to take issue with, among other things:

"We do not include sites that are purely news aggregators, and we were not able to find any stories on your site that were not from outside sources. If you do display original content on your site, please let us know where it is located. We would be happy to review your site again."

Actually, they do, lots of them in fact. I only really follow the GNews inclusions in the Search sector, and some small amount in the general Blog sector, and i'm not going to be naming names, as that's not the issue here, but let me give a few nameless examples of how Google's arguments just don't match the reality:

  • One site on my radar seems only to cut's and pastes from CNet and very, very rarely posts a bit of independent news - usually about their own company.
  • Several sites are written by one person only, which is another of the famous reasons given for exclusion
  • At least one of these sites sole purpose is to link to other sources of news, and comment on them (much like here)
  • Although Google do not say this, their is a common misconception that they include and exclude algorithmically: This is not true - inclusion and exclusion are handled by hand.

Now, im far more aware of the Search sector - and i have noticed one thing in common with the sites included in GNews from this sector that do not match the reasons given other sites, like Rafat's, for exclusion: They all spend a lot of money on Adwords...

Threadwatch was in Google News briefly: I've surmised, as did many of the members here when they suddenly changed their minds, that this was because Threadwatch is often critical of Google. That's fine with me, i'd not have included this site either.

I do think it's time for some clarity, and some even handedness, and honesty with Google and their news service, as I do with many other things though, it's offensive to the intelligence of their users to be so blatantly false in their dealings with us.

Comments

 

Aren't most of the sites in Google News just aggregators? As far as I can see many of them are publishing the same news taken from a news feed agency like AFP or Reuters.

You can see this when you seach for a story and find the same one reprinted over and over word for word.

We are all news aggregators

Among members at TW, I have generated as many "news" stories as anyone.

What has always struck me is how much "news" is not news at all, but the same old tied stuff being put out, invariably unedited straight from the wires, by many of the sources included in Google News.

There are really two sorts of items we are talking about as news
1. Hard fact - earthquake in Thailand, M$ launch new OS or whatever
2. Opinion - 302s are ruining me, sell Google shares, etc

Either way most of what is on Google News is not original. But what is, is NEWS OVERLOAD. What TW does, and does well in my view, is to separate (if DG dos not mind me saying so) the sheep from the goats, and make readers lives easier and more informed by serving eliminating (most of) the "noise", and adding comment to what is published.

Google News needs sites that perform this service. Whether it needs TW is more debatable - I am on record as saying I believe that inclusion in Google News could be a threat to editorial freedom. But TW has been sucessful, and as others copy it, then TW will become more "mainstream", and perhaps more "acceptable" to Google. We'll all be off somewhere else by then!

sidenote

- i see Threadwatch's still not on Topix.net. You really should try submitting Nick, that place is so much more for professionals than the other aggregators.

 

Ok claus, you win :) i sent an email - i know Rich Skrenta has Threadwatch bookmarked, but i doubt he reads the emails himself heh...

paid content

Let me put it this way:

The response from Rafat with regard to a listing suggestion that fit within one of the site's resource directories was a request for payment. Plain and simple, right up front.

Perhaps this factor played a part in the refusal.

 

Quote:
Ok, will add you to our crawl. Give it a week or two to see anything.

Apparently from Rich himself heh..

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