Chalk it up to a difficult week for Google's automated news service, which aims to best traditional newspapers with mathematical algorithms and robots crawling the Web. The Web search giant was hit with a lawsuit from French news agency Agence France Presse, forcing it to start to pull thousands of photos and news stories from its service. Then critics lashed out over its decision to include reports from National Vanguard, a publication that espouses white supremacy. In response, Google said it will remove the publication from its index. Both are black eyes to Google's theory that computers virtually unassisted by human editors can pick the top stories of the day and beat traditional media at its own craft.
Google News has always struck me as incredibly technically proficient and incredibly journalistically naive. How else to explain banning Indymedia but including neocon think-tank blog Powerline? And if we're going to be consistent about mixing the subjournalistic into our news diet, why not add Fleshbot to the menu while we're at it? The nude twin creamed-corn wrestling fan base needs to have its voice heard so that it can compete fairly in the marketplace of ideas.
Ah, well. Google does specify that the thing is still in beta testing. And I don't think they need to best the news judgment of us editors in order to succeed, do you? I just like seeing how different news agencies cover the same story, if at all. Very useful, that. Can't we all just, get along?