Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact|
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.
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
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?"
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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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