THANK YOU AND I WISH YOU WELL GOOGLE NEWS
Google News is a self-defeating content aggregator.
For the umpteenth time scrolling Google News for something new, I wondered why
this exists at all. The application shows you essentially the same news all day,
presumably because of some popularity ranking. One particular aspect though I
never realized was Google News was self-defeating.
What I mean by self-defeating is, Google News most likely exists to the benefit
of Google in some way. In order to retain usefulness, people have to continue
using it. Since it’s a content aggregator, a somewhat super aggregator, it needs
to offer more than what someone could normally get with other aggregation
For Google News this means “see familiar stories”, local news based on location
information, and a few other features. Unfortunately these are not enough in my
RSS feeds will include what you want them to include. This means in order to
“see familiar stories”, well you go find feeds which have similiar content.
In Google News this means you only get n new stories. In RSS readers this means
you get n stories per m feeds.
The same applies to local news. Many news networks include an RSS feed of their
stories. Most likely an RSS reader user will simply go fetch their news
network’s RSS feed. Google News simply does it’s best to show what feels like
random stories from various, obvious local news networks. I wonder why. Probably
because there are not many to start with.
But I see it now – as you read, you whisper “well of course, the power of Google
News is to do this ‘finding’ work for you”. I whisper yes.
And that’s exactly what makes it great and self-defeating.
I sit here wondering why I don’t just note what news sites, networks, whatever,
is being recommended to me, and just go get the RSS feeds and use an RSS
reader. The content would be sorted by time, not some black box ranking. I would
get my articles more quickly. I can manipulate my feed with more accuracy than
Google because I don’t use Google to avoid trapping myself in an echo chamber.
Even better, let’s write an application which simply records what websites Google
News recommends. Users can review the recommendations and add them to their
personal feeds – or have their RSS readers directly use the output!
Your Internet personality,
P.S. I’ll probably continue to use Google News, at least until someone writes an
RSS reader popular enough to hear about it on IRC or elsewhere tech oriented.
P.S.S. Can we make http://example.org/news.xml a thing so we can all share our