Google News is the World’s number one news aggregation service, and it’s gets much of its respect because it sits literally atop Google’s search platform, who’s market share is still unchallenged at 67 percent (and while a Russian search platform Yanex has moved past Bing for the number two spot, but I digress.)
Google News has guidelines that make you think articles – collections of words into paragraphs – matter far more than, say, one sentence.
For example, the web page “Getting into Google News” reads as follows:
News quality guidelines
News content. Sites included in Google News should offer timely reporting on matters that are important or interesting to our audience. We generally do not include how-to articles, advice columns, job postings, or strictly informational content such as weather forecasts and stock data.
We mean it — stick to the news! Google News is not a marketing service. We don’t want to send users to sites created primarily for promoting a product or organization.
Unique articles. Original reporting and honest attribution are longstanding journalistic values. (If your site publishes aggregated content, you will need to separate it from your original work, or restrict our access to those aggregated articles via your robots.txt file.)
Authority. Write what you know! The best news sites exhibit clear authority and expertise.
So given what you just saw, would you expect a one-sentence report to be the top result for Google News under “Justin Bieber”? Like this:
“Pop sensation loses his cool with the paparazzi after being hospitalized.”
If your answer’s “no,” and it should be, then take a look at the pass Google News is giving to ABC News.
This is ABC News’ full listing for its publication about Justin Bieber going off on paparazzi in London as of March 9th, 2013 at 8:28 AM EST:
News for justin bieber
Justin Bieber’s Worst Week Ever
ABC News - 2 hours ago
Pop sensation loses his cool with the paparazzi after being hospitalized.
And note the words “News for justin bieber” – that’s right at the top of search results for “justin bieber.”
And when you click on the ABC News link, what are you taken to?
A web page with the title “Justin Bieber’s Worst Week Ever | Video – ABC News.” And what’s in that page? Just the sentence ” Pop sensation loses his cool with the paparazzi after being hospitalized,” and that’s it. Nothing else.
What’s Up, Matt Cutts?
In other words, Google News is featuring a video page above the hundreds of other “articles” about Justin Bieber just because it belongs to ABC News. Heck, if that’s the case, Google News should feature my video instead:
This favoritism on the part of Google is completely undemocratic and totally flies in the face of the “quality content” ethic that Google News, Google, and particularly it’s famous engineer Matt Cutts, (shown after shaving because he lost a bet) claims to subscribe to.
Now when questioned on this, I expect Google to lean on the typical ‘it’s the algorithm’s fault’ response – but that’s hiding. An algorithm is just an expression of some human being’s view of the world expressed in a series of do and don’t statements written in a programming language. That’s it.
So, strip away the BS, and we have Google News violating its own stated policy of featuring quality content on Google News.
Google News does no one any favors when it blocks access to it by blogs in favor of one-sentence entries just because a website has an established traditional media news brand.
Note that: “established traditional media news brand.”
Google News has spent too much time over-reacting to lawsuits by established traditional media news brands like the Associated Press most notably, and in the process, has picked the style of old media over the substance of blogs, which is new media.
Google News and Matt Cutts should be honest about Google’s intentions, and stop with the rhetoric about “quality content.” This “justin bieber” outcome is not an example of Google rewarding “high-quality content,” as Mr. Cutts put it, and every example of rewarding ABC News and bringing up the question: did Google allow ABC News to pay for that position without public disclosure?
If so, that would explain everything. But it would, or should, open Google up to a massive class action lawsuit by the scores of blogs that have been rejected by Google News, or worse, on it, then kicked off of it, because their posts were said to have not been “quality” work.
You can’t justify ABC News here.
Google has some explaining to so.