This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Media Unspun email newsletter and is Copyright 2002 by Keith Dawson.
M E D I A   U N S P U N
Oogling Google's News

Google News, on which Unspun has been relying for months, has had a major facelift. The service is still in beta and still free. But now it is linked prominently from Google's top page, which means that millions of people will try it.

Google News is an automated aggregator. In its earlier incarnation, Google spidered some 150 news sites, updating once an hour, and determined which stories were the most covered; it built a page with summaries and links, all generated without benefit of a human editor. Now Google spiders 4,000 news sites and updates every 15 minutes. The resulting news page is refreshingly free of blinking ads and pop-unders, as all of Google has been since its inception. This spareness appealed to the Register's reporter: "To the ordinary punter, Google News will also be much more useful than Moreover, the best-known headline aggregator, which deliberately hobbles search to encourage sign-ups and pay-ups."

Mainstream coverage was light, with most articles briefly recapitulating Google's press announcement. and Computerworld touched on some of the existing news aggregators, such as AllTheWeb and Moreover, who might be affected by Google's move. Some specialized Weblogs, such as ResourceShelf and ResearchBuzz, took a longer look at Google's offering. Gary Price's ResourceShelf questioned the wisdom of indexing stories up to 30 days old, pointing out that many news organizations don't keep free links alive that long.

The New York Times ran a thoughtful piece musing on the value -- and quality -- of an editorless news aggregation. Although the Times headlined the story ironically -- "All the News Google Algorithms Say Is Fit to Print" -- reporter Saul Hansell rather appreciated the result, concluding "in general, Google's automated editors appeared to match the work of human competitors." Hansell collected a quote from the executive editor of "Their front page is not too far off from what is on the Post site at the moment." - Keith Dawson

Google muscles into news searching

Google search gets newsier

Google launches news service (Computerworld)

Google News Gets A New Look, More Content

Google Expands News Service

All the News Google Algorithms Say Is Fit to Print

Google Targets Content Aggregating Market

Google Does the News

Google News (BETA)

Google launches news page (SFGate, AP)