October 24, 2012

Google news: the bot's in charge

(I always want to say "Googles" for some reason. Inside joke for Xmas Carol readers.)

I visit a Google news page several times a day. It's got a slightly different flavor than AP and it's got sports, so I enjoy it. Tonight I was trolling around the site, trying to waste time until the World Series game comes on, when I stumbled upon an explanation of how Google "chooses" which news stories to publish. Here are a couple of excerpts:
Our News headlines are selected entirely by computer algorithms, based on factors like how often and where a story appears online. Google News has no human editors selecting stories or deciding which ones deserve top placement. 
Like I said: the bot's in charge. More:
We then use various clustering algorithms to identify stories we think are closely related. These stories displayed on Google News present news articles, videos, images and other information.
No people involved. Nice, clean robot news. By the way, that last sentence sounds like it was written by a bot. Or maybe it's a translation from another language. Nah, a bot wrote it.

The page provided lots of information but I don't feel like I met anyone. You know, as you do when you read something that a, you know, person wrote. Brrrrr. On the other hand, congrats to Google because their news sections are kind of fun.

Note: If you're reading this in another language, "bot" is American slang for "robot".

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