Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Want to Make Google News Smarter–Or Dumber? Give It a Shot.

Traditional publishers gripe that they don’t get enough love and respect from Google, and they want the search engine to favor their stuff above upstarts and aggregators. A new overhaul from Google News won’t give them that, but it does allow users to favor the MSM–or anyone else they want to: Google is giving users the ability to promote sources they’d like to see in the results and demote unworthy ones.

Google (GOOG) won’t let users completely excise sources from their feed, though. Ben Ling, director of product management for search properties, says you’ll still get news from a particular source if they’re the ones breaking news. So if you think the New York Times is a liberal fish-wrapper, or the Wall Street Journal is a propaganda tool for our corporate overlords, you’re still going to have live with them, sometimes. Don’t worry! It’s not that bad.

On the other hand, anyone savvy and/or motivated enough to spend time customizing the Google News page may not use Google News that much at all. Hardcore newshounds are probably glued to RSS feeds, and/or Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Still, worth playing with. The video below explains how to customize your page. and notes other new Google News features, including the obligatory social media links. Google calls it the biggest overhaul of the site since its launch in 2002. Search Engine Land gave its readers a preview of the overhaul last month.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald