Saturday, April 24, 2010

Google's news aggregator: Still flawed

Spotted a few minutes ago on Google News, in the "Spotlight" section:

Pathetic, isn't it? I'm not just talking about low-quality "birther" nonsense showing up on the same page as legitimate news and analysis aggregated from sources all over the world. I'm also referring to the fact that the algorithm(s) Google uses to pick and highlight "news" for inclusion on its popular aggregator has been flawed for years, and the company is apparently unwilling or unable to fix it.

In 2005, I documented how Xinhua, China's state-run news and propaganda agency, was one of the main sources for Google News. Last year, a made-up Onion story was listed in the top block of Google News between real breaking news about swine flu vaccines and Canadian politics. Now it's bottom-feeding political muckraking from a conspiracy theorist. What's next? 

Is Gave Rivera's human-assisted news aggregator, Techmeme, a superior model? I don't like the fact that stories and blog posts about Apple tend to stay up at the top of the list for long periods of time, but I never see wing-nut bloggers (believe it or not, they exist in the tech news world, too) showing up, either. 

Some of my other posts about Google News, Techmeme, and algorithmic editors:

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