Thursday, August 09, 2007

Google News & Comments: Google’s smart ploy to please news publishers

Google News, the favorite whipping boy of ostrich/ignorant news publishers, has found a way to keep the blow-hards happy.

Soon, a closed group of participants, basically all who are mentioned in the news story can publish their replies on news appearing on Google News, adding clarifications and what have you.

Here’s what the Google news team has to say about this decidedly Web 1.0 move,

"We'll be trying out a mechanism for publishing comments from a special subset of readers: those people or organizations who were actual participants in the story in question. Our long-term vision is that any participant will be able to send in their comments, and we'll show them next to the articles about the story. Comments will be published in full, without any edits, but marked as "comments" so readers know it's the individual's perspective, rather than part of a journalist's report."

Michael Arrington calls it Google’s Hypocrisy, walling off comments for normal users. (which reminds me to ask Michael about accepting my comments on Techcrunch)

Josh Catone avers,
Rather than encouraging an open discussion on news topics, Google is perpetuating a closed debate between newsmakers and journalists. And they're using a clunky, slow medium (email) to do it.
Quoting Gabe Rivera of Techmeme, Danny Sullivan writes,
Since there's going to be valuable information in these comments, shouldn't Google open these pages up to others to crawl, as Gabe Rivera from Techmeme urges?

The PR bonanza
Danny asks a more important question:
Are public relations firms considered "participants" in a story, if they represent someone or some company mentioned?

Echoing Danny’s views, vis-à-vis PR guys, John Murrell suggests that we might soon witness a boom in PR hiring.

Google sets its own rules. Only Google can decide what is okay and what is not.

The new comments move, promising to give 'voice' to PR guys, suggests that Google has succeeded where Federated Media failed with its brand of “conversation”, where it tried to use the services of A-list bloggers to ‘spokesblog’ for Microsoft.

With its latest move, Google has made the PR guys happy, forcing some of them to make delirious judgments - you will also understand why I don’t give a hoot for what PR blogger Steve Rubel thinks. If Google did venture into original content, putting ‘Walled Comments’ would be a pretty lame way to do it.

It will be far easier and useful if it hired some good editors from these complaining news organizations, getting them to select, submit and moderate a better version of Digg, running on top of Google News, taking into account Google Reader stats as well.


Related Mediavidea posts on Google News
How Google can Gobble Digg

What would we do without the News Indexes

Cliffnotes on News 2.0 for Sam Zell

Coming Soon: Old Media' s last stand

Looking for the future of news

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