Monday, March 13, 2006

What's up with Google News? It needs a Human Being!

First, welcome to my blog. I haven't told anyone about this yet, so whatever you did to find it, well, congratulations.

Now, onto my first topic. Google News. While I love its "alerts" feature, there are some things about Google News that drives me nuts. First, they need to have a human being sit down for about a day and sort of rate sources from reputable to non-reputable, or at least for certain regional news. The Xinhua news agency comes up way too frequently for stories about US domestic policy.

Today, for instance, if you search for "microsoft mobile pc" without the quotes, the first news story is from the Times of Oman, the second from Mobile Africa in Ghana and the third from TabletPC Reviews. Couldn't they have some sort of human-inspired logic to push down these third world news sources when searching for Microsoft? Searching for Israel brings up a IranManian news article about Rabbis calling for Israel's destruction.

I tried Google News headlines in my RSS feed on my Pocket PC, with the top news and business headlines, but too often, the headlines would be wildly misleading. Like "Economy grew 7% last quarter" sounds really interesting, until you see it's from a Singapore newspaper. Good for them, but not really my priority.

Google News is best for obscure topics. For more common topics, Yahoo News seems to be better, as it appears as if they have an actual human being determing which stories are important, and what ranking they can take. It's just amazing that with a little bit of effort, Google's News could be so much better.

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