5 April 2003
For some time now, there's been some general uneasiness about the placement of items on Google's News pages. Now it seems that Google's very definition of "news" is arguable: The Register reports that corporate and NGO press releases can be, and occasionally are, considered to be "news" in the estimation of Google, and that Google has had to backpedal on its claim that the selection is entirely computer-based. How bad is it?
[A] search for "cluster bombs" on Google News yielded five stories, and four of them were press releases. Only one was a "news story".
I ran this search myself, and this time more than five stories came up, but the first few pages were indeed larded with press releases. Under pressure, Google has announced the release of official guidelines for what is, and what isn't, a news site, which are supposed to be due some time Monday.