The coverage of Google’s new News Page will surely focus on its lack of human editors. Google is fanning the fires by making such claims. Such coverage misses the point as it is actually very human. Indeed, it perhaps is more human than other methods of presenting the news as it rewards the collective wisdom of numerous human editors. The fact that they don’t work at Google does not detract from their humaness (humanity?).
The real news is the integration of their editorial selection algorithims with Google’s incredible search technology. Now, that’s the news.
It’s now my home page.
Flashback: If this all sounds familiar, let me refer you back to a post from February.
Later: Steve Outing of the Poynter Institute runs up the fear flag in his Google News piece for Ediitor and Publisher. However, buried in his analysis is the insightful observation (in other words, one I agree with) that it is not its lack of humanity which makes Google News impressive, it’s the opposite. It’s Googles ability to leverage (co-op?) the unwittingly collaborative opinion of 4,000 human editors and thousands of reporters to make Google News hyper-human.
Quote from Outing:
Actually, I would argue that the service does use human news-editing intelligence. It collects and analyzes the news publishing decisions of the human editors at 4,000 news organizations. It’s not unreasonable to posit that this “collaborative” story placement is a more accurate reflection of the top stories of the day than the placement decisions made at a single media outlet. Whether we’re talking about the front page of the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., or The New York Times, or the home pages of those papers’ Web sites, story-placement decisions are made by a small group of editors. Google News makes its placement decisions on collective editing intelligence, so there’s less likelihood of individual editors’ biases influencing story placement.