Feeds

Google turns News ‘bug’ into payola feature

Pay no attention to the robot behind the curtain!

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Google's semantic redefinition of the word "News" could soon prove a lucrative bonus for the secretive search engine company.

Why secretive? The company refuses to publish its News Policy - and it maintains the fiction that the selection and composition of stories on its "News section" was "determined by a computer". That's as true as the assertion that the selection and composition of the story you're reading now was "determined by a computer", too.

As we exclusively confirmed on Friday, Google Inc. has begun treating press releases as news.

"In your first story you highlighted a bug in Google News. We did not clearly mark the RIAA press release for our users. We appreciate you bringing the issue to our attention and apologize for any misconceptions it may have created," Google told us on Monday, via email.

But one man's bug is another man's feature, and Google's promotion of lobby group material and corporate sources is now fairly blatant, as a search for Sun storage [no quotation] reveals.

HP, IBM and EMC and Network Appliance, to pick just four examples, are not extended the same favor.

But these companies need not feel neglected. They'll soon be able to woo Google's favor when the company fills the following vacancy.

It's an important job which involves "developing and maintaining relationships with the news sources included in Google News."

Curiously this falls under the description of "Business Development", not "Editorial".

No one quite knows how Google makes these important decisions. The policy is "internal", the company told us on Monday, and cannot possibly be revealed for "competitive reasons".

However one thing is clear: the inclusion and weighting of stories in Google News beta is not being carried out by robots, but by Google staff.

We invited Google today to develop and maintain its relationship with The Register by explaining these interesting developments, and by repeating our call for the corporation to publish its News Policy.

What will it take for Google to operate with even a modicum of transparency? ®

Related Stories

Google News: press releases are OK - Official
'Adios Google' [letters]
PR rules, OK? Google ducks promised news policy pledge
Anti-war slogan coined, repurposed and Googlewashed... in 42 days

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.