I was pleased when Google News first came on the scene. I remember waiting patiently as the new tool indexed more and more media sources in order to bring me more and more up-to-date information as it broke. I imagined a little block of Google Code infecting some douche's cell phone, and as soon his car was in an accident in Oswegatchie, NY his cell phone would SMS the news to Google and I would read about it.
It sounds bizarre, but my friends can recount for you my crippling CNN addiction from 1999 until December of 2001, when I would sit and hit reload on CNN.com and beg, "where is my new-news??"
All of that has changed though, as I am a much calmer and level headed than I was in my early 20s (not drinking a gallon of Mountain Dew a day probably helps).
Over the past three to six months though, I've built up beef with Google News, and I'm here to speak out against it:
It has several annoying bugs, and I don't like it. I know it's a "Beta" -- everything Google does is "Beta" for two years, but we need to roll back about three versions of the code for this POS because I'm tired of reading the same news story two days later. This bug was introduced at the same time Google allowed you to "personalize" your Google News experience, which is as useless as birth control for an amputee.
What the fuck am I talking about, you ask?
The screen shot you're looking at, as you can see, was auto-generated 11 minutes ago from the New Bots crawl across the face of planet, looking for new and interesting bits of news for me. What it doesn't seem to realize is that the story about the West Wing being cancelled was both new and interesting at 8:00am Sunday morning when I woke up, not at 12:30pm on Monday afternoon. Further, this story was already on the front, at the top, moved down and off the page, and fucking reappeared because the Scottsman finally decided to cover it.
The problem with their algorithm is that it's allowing shitty news outlets to dictate what is "breaking news" at this very moment. Indeed, I could probably publish "JFK Shot Today" on the Atlanta Journal Constitution's website, and Google News would decide that it's breaking news and place it top-right.
Of course I exaggerate, because Google's "secret sauce" uses a variety of things to weigh what is and is not current or breaking news, but that sauce seems to have way too much fennel in it right now, cause it tastes like shit.
Google, on the other hand, doesn't agree with me.
Monday Musings - 9
3 hours ago