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October 14th, 2002

Google News

Given that Ryan and I both like Google quite a bit (and, sure, no one else does) we both saw Google News launch a few weeks ago with anticipation and glee. Now that the dust has settled, I want to share my thoughts on this service with you.

First, I do find myself using Google News as a news recap page. It’s a fairly good summary of what’s going on, and the layout in particular is nice and clean – it’s easy to get around. I prefer it to using a site like CNN’s, which is just horribly disorganized and has too much information. Links are easy to figure out, no type is too tiny, etc. etc. etc. Google News scores really well here.

But it falters a little on the purely automated article selection. There was an article today in the International section asking, “Who bombed Bali?” with a picture next to it. In the picture was a rather clean-cut white gentleman, and the placement of the picture suggested that he was a suspect. Nope – he’s the column’s writer. The picture was taken from the masthead.

And, I find that Entertainment stories get a little too much play. A few weeks ago, the film Sweet Home Alabama got lots of coverage for no good reason, it seems. Chances are, this is just the news robot program working bugs and oddities out of its system.

Finally, one thing about Google News that bothers me is the possible upcoming charge for the service. I like Google News, but I don’t find it totally indispensible. What do you think? Would you pay for this?

Posted in Technology

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