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Google News Leaves Beta

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @12:04PM (#14548713)
    Google News coming out of Beta is a clear indication that Google has jumped the shark.

    Alas, poor Google. I knew thee well.
  • by teiresias (101481) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @12:05PM (#14548714)
    Google News Headline: Google News out of Beta.

    Story at 11.
  • by thewldisntenuff (778302) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @12:05PM (#14548720) Homepage
    But what does that mean for Google? Wasn't the point of keeping it in beta to insulate it from lawsuits from a lot of the bigger newsgroups (Reuters, AP, et al)?
    • No, it wasnt (Score:5, Insightful)

      by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot AT keirstead DOT org> on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @12:11PM (#14548773) Homepage
      Of course not, thats a bunch of hooey perpetrated by idiots on slashdot.

      Think about it for a second, why in God's name would having the word 'beta' stuck in front of it be any kind of legal insulation? The population can still access it, the "damage" if any would still be done.

      The truth is that there is nothing wrong with anything Google is doing, all they are doing is grabbing headlines and snippits. It falls under "fair use", and they direct the traffic to your news site anyway, so where's the problem? If you personally don't want your site involved all you have to do is opt-out. It is clear as day.

  • Thank God! (Score:4, Funny)

    by TWX (665546) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @12:05PM (#14548721)
    I guess that since it's now not beta anymore, we can all finally use it! All of those of us who held back until it was ready for market can rest assured!
    • So, when will the Slash code be ready?

      I keed! I keed!
    • It's the first thing I fire up in the morning to get up-to-date with the world. I scan it, look at the sources for the stories of course, and read what intrests me. Then I head to CNN.com and the NYTimes website. I don't have a TV, so these are my main sources for news.

      Then and only then do I head to Slashdot. Unless I've left a comment recently and I rush to see if I was modded a troll. It's really my only purpose for waking up, to see what I was modded as.
  • look at all of the links to the post at the bottom of that blog - they're like snowflakes or something.
    it really has improved since i started to use it a year or so ago, nice job google news team.
  • Implications. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by caffeination (947825)
    Can we use this figure of "more than 3 years" as any indication for the rest of their products?
    This is a question for software developers - does a company like Google have a system that generally produces "1.0 quality" software after a certain amount of time, or does it depend entirely on the nature of a particular project?

    I only ask because I can't wait for Gmail to go "live" for real.
    • Google maps was brought into google local and out of beta much quicker than this. There must have been other reasons why google news in particular took so long. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that they were entering an already well developed market, whereas with maps they offered much innovation to the online maps market.
    • Google itself was in beta for years. I remember back around 1999 when it started, the Google home page had a ilttle "beta" tag snuck in there.

      http://www.google.com/ [archive.org]">Google on December 2, 1998

      http://www.google.com/ [archive.org]">Google on April 23, 1999

      Other hits on the Wayback Machine yield Google home pages with gray boxes where the logo should be. I forget when exactly it was that Google decided to be a search engine in its own right; way back when, you got links to "perform your search on Yahoo, Altavista,"
    • clearly the term beta means something different to them. in the same announcement that says that they're no longer beta, they announce a new feature :

      So today we're adding a way to automatically recommend stories for users with Personalized Search.

      it seems like this new feature should have hit a beta version, if beta is a designation for a testing area. under most people's definition of beta a product shouldn't change as it moves from beta to production, beta is where you're making sure that the chang

    • Re:Implications. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @01:56PM (#14549850) Homepage
      This is a question for software developers - does a company like Google have a system that generally produces "1.0 quality" software after a certain amount of time, or does it depend entirely on the nature of a particular project?
      I wonder about Google's mythical 'quality'. These are after all the people who released a map application without a scale, and an email application with the 'delete' button hidden and time-consuming to acess.

      Google News has an even deeper and more subtle flaw - it fails to meet it's espoused goal of providing a broader perspective. All too often it's 'clusters' consist of news sources repeating, or rewriting, the same [AP|Rueters|Bloomberg|BBC|Whoever] press release. This gives the impression of legitimacy to the story - but reality they all trace back to same narrow selection of sources.

  • Several months ago there was an article on slashdot claiming that the algorithm for google news had a built in bias to favor politically conservative/right wing news sources?

    Is this still true?
  • Wow! (Score:4, Funny)

    by creepynut (933825) * <teddy(slashdot).teddybrown@ca> on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @12:10PM (#14548760) Homepage
    • Via Link: In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 17 already displayed.

      And among those links are:

      • Google News Out of Beta
        Techtree.com, India - 2 hours ago
      • Google News Is Out Of Beta
        InformationWeek, NY - 13 hours ago
      • Google News finally emerges from beta
        Computeractive, UK - 3 hours ago
      • Google News out-of-beta
        TechWhack (press release), India - 5 hours ago
      • Google News is out of beta
        iT News, Australia - 17 hours ago

      Etc., etc., etc. We sho

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Google News has a severe and heavy bias towards certain types of media. The Google creators claims it is because their algorithims cause certain sources to show up near the top - but they have been caught "tweaking" results before.

    Can Google News answer to the charges that they are purposely altering search results for News?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Google News has a severe and heavy bias towards certain types of media.

      That's a pretty vague statement. Would you mind specifying which types of media Google is biased towards, and providing some sort of evidence for your claims?

      The Google creators claims it is because their algorithims cause certain sources to show up near the top - but they have been caught "tweaking" results before.

      Again, that's rather vague. What sort of "tweaks" have been made, what exactly are these "certain sources", who ca
  • Nothing to celebrate (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SimianOverlord (727643) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @12:12PM (#14548787) Homepage Journal
    Google news is rather dubious. There's no real insight into how it selects headlines. There are reports that it will happily take as 'news' press releases from the BNP in Britain, which is a little like giving news releases from the Ku Klux Klan the same prominance as the NYT. Google caved under pressure to China to screen thoughtcrime out of its results. I'm not sure I like Google anymore.

    I recently read Joel Bakan's The Corporation, which argues that due to their defining characteristic of only being beholden to profit and money, corporations are, in human terms, irredeemably psychotic. Google is an interesting case study, as it's set itself a higher moral standard, and has much further to fall. Google News was the beginning of that inevitable fall.
    • This is not a rumour. a little digging on Gogle News on relatively obscure or narrow-interest news stories will reliably turn up fake news stories, press releases, obviously astroturfed blog entries and etc.

      its always been a problem; here's an example

      http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&ie=UTF-8& q=pocket+knives+china [google.com]

      Google News. like Google search , is useful only in two ways- superficial examination of topics relevant to others and watching the attempts of interested parties to gain influn
    • by hackstraw (262471) * on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @12:30PM (#14548957)
      I'm not sure I like Google anymore.

      Well, hey, you get +1 insightful for saying you don't like google, and I get flamebate for saying I like google. Hmm.

      I recently read Joel Bakan's The Corporation, which argues that due to their defining characteristic of only being beholden to profit and money, corporations are, in human terms, irredeemably psychotic. Google is an interesting case study, as it's set itself a higher moral standard, and has much further to fall. Google News was the beginning of that inevitable fall.

      Yeah, I saw the film. The deal is that collections of people are the same as one person. Corporations, nations, states, sub-culture groups, etc all have "personalities", and collectively, they behave like an individual would behave.

      The problem with many corps, is that they are selfish, self-centered, and greedy, just like the individuals that own and/or run them. There are exceptions. To this date, I believe Google is still an exception there. The concerns I have with them, is how much control will they be able to maintain now that the company is publicly traded and their stock is very overvalued.

      The two cofounders of Google are worth between 7-11billion a piece, yet few even know their names, and they are still bluejean wearing casual guys, that do not own 20,000 square foot mansions or a boat that costs $300,000 to fill the gas tank (look it up).

      At this time Google has a strong commitment to their users (read not customers, ie advertisers). This is something that people seem to miss. Sure Google takes cash from the advertisers, but that is not their focus. Their focus is to be the best, most accurate, and fastest searching thingy in the world.

      I think Google will be alright for a while.

    • From the Google blog post, concerning the issue of press-releases:

      We've certainly gotten a lot of feedback from both readers and editors. For example, readers told us they loved the news clusters but they didn't want press releases on the home page (although they are still useful to have in the search results).

      So hopefully there will not be any BNP press releases on the front page anymore. As for China, I know nothing! I swear!

    • While The Corporation is an interesting read, its' argument is that if a corporation were a person, it would be psychotic. But they are not people. Moreover, a corporation (excluding non-profits, of course) exists for one reason: to increase shareholder wealth. While there are many people who have a problem with the tactics that are used in some instances to achieve such a goal, it does not change reality. Google is a corporation and they exist to increase their shareholders' wealth.

      This seems to be
      • You seem to agree with Joel Bakan's theory; indeed it is a fairly obvious point, once it is out in the open and fully examined: that corporations ARE psychotic, by any human standards. You might view this with a matter of fact shrug, but I, for one, view Google's position as the planets number one trader of information, and the fact it will begin to pursue possibilities to completely capitalise on its position without regard to any moral responsibilities as something truly frightening.

        I'm sure plenty o
      • You mix up corporations as a general concept with the subset of public corporations where shareholders have full voting rights. (Hint: What do you think that Inc. stands for?) AFAIK, there are more private corporations than public ones in the US.
    • by rtaylor (70602)
      Google caved under pressure to China to screen thoughtcrime out of its results.
      That's okay. The Chinese think a number of American, Canadian, European, etc. laws are pretty wacky too.

      If Google wants to do business in $country then they generally need to follow that countries laws regardless of what people from outside $country think.

      I imagine many Americans would be fairly upset if Google started to encourage 15 year olds to have a glass of wine or beer with dinner or a smoke after sex which is considered n
      • I think you confuse "law" with "traditions".
      • The screened out results aren't some 'customs of the country' peculiar local ways. They are dissident sites that criticise and publicise China's human rights record. If there is one issue that transcends the borders of nation states it is people's favour of, and commitment to, human rights.
        • The grandparent post is just typical multiculturalist rhetoric. They're unwilling to call most cultures to task for their human rights violations unless the country/nation in question has politics they view as contradictory to their own, typically left-leaning politics.

          Nations populated with "people of color" get a special pass -- you don't seem to hear the multiculturalists criticizing female genital mutilation, the aspects of Sharia that treat women like slaves or property, the horrible Indian caste syst
          • I don't see how the qualities of the multiculturists as you've described jives with being leftists. Rich warlords ruling over the poor masses, torture and sham trials, privileged classes ... these all sound like qualities of a rightist utopia to me. ;)

            I don't want to get into a flame war though. No amount of criticism means squat unless you can threaten some type of action to back it up. Military action is only feasable in the most dire situations and against relatively weak countries. Economic punishm

      • I would like to note in Texas a minor can have alcoholic beverages with their parents (as long as their parents are present and give consent). I don't know how young it applies to, but I know at least 18 and above can be served alcohol with their parent's consent and presence.

        As for legislating that you have to smoke after sex; that is just sick and twisted. I mean what if you have sex in a public place, you can get stoned to death for smoking in public in certain cities in the US ;)

      • Yeah, lot's of people have laws that seem "wacky", but who are we to judge?

        Aparthied South Africa, Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany...

        In short, bullshit on your cultural relativism. Some governments do things that are wrong, and responsible persons and corporations should be expected to determine this, and should refuse to abet them. Helping the Chines government quash dissent is wrong, and "But I have to to make money" is not a defense.
        • Helping the Chines government quash dissent is wrong, and "But I have to to make money" is not a defense.


          I agree with you ethically but corporations are created to make money not implement social policy. CEOs are brainwashed to ignore moral dilemmas and make decisions that will maximize profits. That is until governments step in and tell them the right thing to do.
    • by mblase (200735)
      Google news is rather dubious. There's no real insight into how it selects headlines.

      Too be fair, though, there's no real insight as to how any other online news source selects its headlines, either. You're either leaving it up to the whims of the editor(s), or the whims of an automated database.
    • There are reports that it will happily take as 'news' press releases from the BNP in Britain, which is a little like giving news releases from the Ku Klux Klan the same prominance as the NYT.

      Actually, that's something I like about Google news - you get to hear the other side of the story. Now, I already have a pretty good idea what the KKK believes (and I don't agree) so that's not particularly useful. On the other hand, Google News is very useful when it comes to understanding something like the Israeli-P

    • Google news is rather dubious. There's no real insight into how it selects headlines.

      How exactly is it dubious? It makes use of well-known document clustering and information retrieval methods to identify coherent groups of articles (i.e. stories) and rank articles by how well they represent their "cluster".

      I have no interest in reading BNP propoganda either. But what is the alternative? Are you suggesting that a human editor a la Yahoo News is less biased? Sometimes Google produces search results with whic
  • by xoip (920266) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @12:13PM (#14548791) Homepage
    Been using Google News since the beginning and thee have been few changes that I noticed... so what are the new features that come out of a full version release?
    • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @12:48PM (#14549166)
      Been using Google News since the beginning and thee have been few changes that I noticed... so what are the new features that come out of a full version release?

      Beta is supposed to mean feature-complete, but still in testing. The term is misused a lot.

    • what are the new features that come out of a full version release

      Since you have have only been testing the features that are in the beta, there would not normally be anything new in a final release (which would not include anything untested). It's just a labelling change to indicate that 'this has been heavily used and meets our criteria for a finished release'. Look for the next beta for testable new features :-)

  • Subversion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unixcorn (120825) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @12:13PM (#14548793)
    I just read the blog. I have not used Google News and have no axe to grind. However, I can't help but worry about a service that "finds or picks" my news for me using algorithms. Isn't anyone worried that someone could be tweaking the search criteria to control what is displayed? When the news comes from many sources you learn to read into the articles what each organization's hidden adgenda is. By leaving the choices of what is presented up to a machine that is ultimately controlled by a few people rather than many editors across several outlets, we make ourselves vulnerable to suggestion or manipulation. I can see why they were worried about lawsuits....just a crazy rant.
    • By leaving the choices of what is presented up to a machine that is ultimately controlled by a few people rather than many editors across several outlets, we make ourselves vulnerable to suggestion or manipulation
      And this is why, when you go to google news, it says, in green font at the bottom of each story, FOX News - CNN - ABC News - New York Times - all 2,351 related

      So far, it seems to me that taking the summary from one article and linking to several more is a pretty nifty idea.
      But then, I get all my

    • Re:Subversion (Score:4, Interesting)

      by j-cloth (862412) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @12:34PM (#14549006)
      I think that the way it works makes it less prone to bias than traditional news reading. Normal people go to cnn.com, or cbc.ca or bbc.co.uk or (god forbid) foxnews.com (see, I just inserted my bias. Wouldn't you like to be able to read a similar post from a right wing viewpoint to counterbalance mine right now?). Each of those sites has its own bias, and its own editors who may or may not be upfront about their agendas. The beauty of google news is that I can look at what each of these news sources has to say about the same story and get a better understanding of the actual story. For example it was very interesting to read the difference in opinion coming from Toronto and Miami when Canada passed same sex marriage legislation. Or today, I like to see at a glance what the Americans, Australians, and heck, even the French think about Last night's election [google.ca]
    • However, I can't help but worry about a service that "finds or picks" my news for me using algorithms. Isn't anyone worried that someone could be tweaking the search criteria to control what is displayed?

      Wow. "News" is not really news anymore. It often has other agendas. See my .sig for an example.

      The US is in some nebulous "war on terror", which has pretty much reached joke status for 25% of its population. When Bush was trying to get reelected last time, remember when he randomly bumped up the "Terror
    • Are you not also worried, then, that the results of your search are left up to algorithms (not open source) in a machine controlled by a few people? No human or super intelligent mouse reads your Google search, does a little research, considers what would be best for you to read, and then prepares the list for you. Google is not a research librarian, but people find it useful anyway.

      There are already news sources where someone decides what should be presented. They're called, among other things, newspape
  • That's really good news.

    Now all my old, embarrassing cross-posts to alt.flame, alt.fan.warlord, and alt.sex.nice.ass.paulina will be preserved for eternity.

    And you wonder why I use a pseudonym? I learned a late lesson.

  • They've added an extensive new feature. Isn't the point of a beta supposed to be (in theory, when it's not just a marketing ploy) to test such things and iron out bugs?
  • 4. [google.com] How do I find everything the Prosimian Times wrote about Gentle Lemurs in the last month?

    Try the advanced search page to refine your search. Specify a news source, date range or location to find exactly those articles you're looking for.

    That is really cool - I never knew that they had newspapers in the Eocene Epoch, let alone that lemurs have a gentle side to them.
  • by XMilkProject (935232) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @12:18PM (#14548842) Homepage
    I agree with alot of the posters calling google news "dubious" and such. There does seem to be a lack of information as to how they determine what exactly is news worthy.

    That being said, they seem to choose all the headlines that I'm interested in, and I find it quite pleasant to browse the stories there.

    Perhaps the decision making process for what qualifies as a headline is: "What will google users find interesting" -- Which seems perfectly fine by me.
    • They do not choose stories like that. I implemented an algorithm similar to what Google News uses for a data mining class in grad school. The algorithm is called Latent Semantic Indexing. The idea is to represent the ideas, or latent semantics, of a document in a vector space. Those documents with the smallest angle relative to a query vector are selected. Note that there is room for tweaking, but it's not just some guy deciding what I should read. It's software I can understand.

  • by TheBrutalTruth (890948) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @12:19PM (#14548850)
    Only 3 years and 4 months in Beta? Haven't they learned not to rush a product to market?
  • One annoyance with Google News is that they include vanity "press release" sites as news sources. And since most of those sites do absolutely no filtering on submitted PR, that means any nut or hoax can get their .. release .. to the top slot in a news search category.
    • From the Article:
      We've certainly gotten a lot of feedback from both readers and editors. For example, readers told us they loved the news clusters but they didn't want press releases on the home page (although they are still useful to have in the search results). A major area we wanted to address was personalization. We offered email alerts, as well as the ability for users to create a personalized page, but many users don't have the time to specify exactly what they want. So today we're adding a way to aut
  • Some service from Google FINALLY left Beta.
  • Beta? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dzimas (547818) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @12:25PM (#14548913)
    Beta. "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
  • And I had, like, seven invites left that I hadn't sent out yet. I guess they're worthless now that ANYONE can use it.
  • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Tuesday January 24, 2006 @12:54PM (#14549237) Journal
    ... a news site like slashdot. Not for the dupes, mind you. But for the ability to comment on the news, to hear different opinions from different parts of the world, with a mecanism like slashcode moderation (that works better than nothing, as flawed as it is) able to filter the noise. Would anyone be aware of such a website ?
  • Their screening process for new entries is a little... biased. They'll let Landover Baptist (a virulently anti-Christian parody site) and some Neo-Nazi group get their content added, but wouldn't add Michelle Malkin, a blogger who is a professional journalist, get added because she "doesn't have an editorial staff."

    I personally have little use for Malkin, but I cannot help but wonder about the people who turn her down, but let the kissing cousins of the National Alliance and Stormfront get indexed instead.
  • Still crappy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by EVil Lawyer (947367)
    I used Google News for a while a number of years ago. I gave it up because it wasn't really doing a good job doing what it was supposed to: Presenting relevant news articles. About a week ago, I checked it out again. It still sucks. There were two articles on the front page that contained "news" at least two days old. Yes, the _articles_ were new, but the content in the article was days-old. I wonder if Google News took a little bit _too_ much influence from Slashdot.
  • by jjoyce (4103)
    Groups is still in beta and has been since I can't remember. I think it's been around 5 or 6 years.
  • Grrr, stupid date format, grumble, grumble. Why not use 2006-01-23? Here are all the reasons why you should [cam.ac.uk].

  •     After all this time when you hit Reply you don't have the quoted text of what you're replying to in the compose box. You have to hit Options then hit Reply to get quoted text. Who made that decision?

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