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Google's News, Any Good? 30 September 2002 Edition
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Last week, the world's stop search engine, Google, has added a very useful new service to its offerings.

A lot of noise was made in the media about the fact that Google's new News Pages are 100% computer-generated. That's right -- not a human hand or eye to be seen in the selection or layup process.

As someone with a strong background in online news, its aggregation and presentation, I'm the first to acknowledge just how clever this is and that they've done a damned fine job of implementing their system.


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However, from an Net-user's perspective I don't thing these computer-generated news index pages are really the most valuable part of the service.

What's really cool is being able to search such a large database of absolutely current news stories.

When I was researching and writing stories for 7am.com I found that Google's regular web-search was a great way to dig up important background facts -- but due to the lag between a page being published on the Net and incorporated into the web database, it was not at all useful for finding out what others were writing on "breaking news" stories.

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The new News Search facility changes all that though -- and I'm sure that just about every news reporter and news-copy writer will be thrashing Google very hard right now.

Of course it'll also a big boon to the growth of SOME online news sites.

Even the NZ Herald would likely gain some extra visitors as a result of having their stories included -- well that's if they were being included.

Yes, strange but true -- when I checked this morning, I could find no hint of any stories from the (web)pages of the NZ Herald on Google's News Search.

A number of other NZ news sites are included however, including Stuff, Mytown.co.nz, XtraMSN and NZ City.

Surely someone from the Herald is onto this and has already contacted Google to ask why they've been left out (maybe?).

It's a shame to see that the guys over at 7am.com have also dropped the ball -- they probably don't even realise this new service is running or that they should be included. Given that a story's ranking is affected (in part) by the number of other sites linking to it, syndicators such as 7am.com have a unique opportunity to be right up near the top of the list -- if they only had half a brain.

Right now, all the smart international news sites will be in brainstorming sessions trying to work out how to make sure that their versions of news stories outrank those of their competition. Do I detect a new job title about to be created?

Who will be the Net's first "News Story Ranking Consultant"?

My next question is -- "how long before they start charging for this service?"

If you want to have your say on the contents of today's column then please do so. Only comments marked "For Publication" will (if I have time) be published in the readers' comments section.


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