Shandrew (shandrew) wrote,

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Algorithmic news fails the election, again

Google News has a lot of users, mainly due to the popularity and high quality of Google Search/Mail/Maps.

However, every time there's a big news event, it seems to disappoint. Here's what it showed me at 7:15 PM:

1. The most timely story is 33 minutes ago. Every other popular news site is being updated by the minute.
2. The top ranked article has an out of context title. Why is a small newspaper the top result? The "race too close to call" in the article refers to a few close states, not the presidential race as a whole. Meanwhile, NPR has "Key States Move Obama Closer To Win", CNN "Red states turning blue on U.S. map", Yahoo/AP "Obama wins Ohio, takes commanding lead over McCain", Yahoo's home page has a big photo of Obama, Fox "MOMENTUM BUILDS". Google News looks like the lost child.
3. On the right, under the map, there's a list of people/items "In The News". No politicians. Half an hour later, only one of them, Elizabeth Dole, is a politician. I wonder what algorithm chooses that.

Update: at 7:40, Google News' top headline is "Obama wins Iowa". Still missing the HUGE HUGE HUGE NEWS. The third from the top headline (one page down on a 1024x768 screen) is the one that should be at the top, "Obama sweeps to commanding lead".

Sounds like around 8:15 McCain might deliver his concession speech and 8:45 Obama will speak. Soo...i maybe at 9:30 Google News will have the victory headline?

This election, human-run news sites crush the algorithmic news site. I think this will be the case for the next presidential election as well. In the meantime, I think it would do Google News (and most importantly, all of its users) well to have some human intervention during large news events.
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