|Initially, only participants (people & organizations) in the news piece will be permitted comments, although Google has indicated their vision is for any participant to comment. |
This is noteworthy for several reasons. First, it should be useful in and of itself.
And, for webmasters, it creates something of a fair-use situation for Google. Anyone else could do this as well, of course.
This, I believe, could make interesting copyright cases even more interesting.
Thanks Engine! Great catch. This is why I must visit WW every day.
I went and found the announcement from Google:
|And, for webmasters, it creates something of a fair-use situation for Google. Anyone else could do this as well, of course. |
This is BS. I allow users to comment on my news on my site already. It is a big part of the interaction within my site. I don't want them hanging around Google News commenting when they should be on my site.
|I don't want them hanging around Google News commenting when they should be on my site. |
You are not SlashDot, are you? ;)
Hmm I not sure I would be so keen on this, as a source site. Eating into our own functionality, at least if was free-for-all.
Plus I could not see them putting up unedited stuff, would cause them endless problems. With people in the story commenting...you would have a lot of trouble verifying who people were I would think?
[edited by: FattyB at 4:18 pm (utc) on Aug. 8, 2007]
I do NOT like the idea at all.
But then again, I'm already not too fond of some of the useless swill that often masquerades as Web 2.0 - or for Web 2.0 altogether, much of which I consider to be manipulative, noisy, self-aggrandizing soap box rhetoric.
Sgt. Joe Friday: Just the facts, ma'am.
As Weeks suggests, this sounds tricky in terms of copyright and "fair use" (and in any case, the "fair use" doctrine is neither clear-cut nor universally recognized).
I also share Marcia's reservations about the "useless swill that often masquerades as Web 2.0."
Google News is a handy way to search the day's news. I'd hate to see it become a way for Google to infringe on news' publishers intellectual-property rights while cluttering up the Google News interface with mindless user rants.
This is big news, especially if they go and open the floodgates to everyone.
Your blog, my blog, everybody's blog could be made redundant, especially if you're a news comment blog.
Google is no longer organizing the world's data you & I created, but potentially helping create it, too.
Digg... Slashdot... and half the blogs in the world already do this... so why not Google...
I don't like it... but lets face it... If your content is being featured on G News... They are sending you more business than they are taking away from adding comments.
How will they verify that those commenting really are the people or organizations they claim to be?
This only seems practical for a very few, top-of-the-news stories. Otherwise, fraud is going to be rampant.
Well, at this point the user comments are just an experiment (or the announcment of an experiment), so--with luck--the idea won't get beyond the test phase.
I think it might be an extremely useful feature, or it might be a source of extra noise... but the idea of Google getting into this kind of derivative "content" generation makes me very uneasy.
It's true that many blogs and news sites permit comments already. We are, in fact, on WebmasterWorld commenting on a Google News Blog. News and rumor spread so fast in the blogosphere these days that the sources of many stories are often obscured by the proliferation of references and noise about them.
So why shouldn't Google be permitted comments too? In part, I feel, because it's in an unfair competitive situation. Google has become the de facto [google.com] gateway to the web. In that situation, it's likely that it will see the aggregate of news stories before others will, and that because of its size, it's likely that Google will have access to story participants before smaller sites will. And because it is the gateway, Google will have access to web viewers before many of the source sites will.
If the "fair use" and the comments serve to send visitors to news source sites for a deeper view, then there is a symbiosis, and everybody gains. If Google ends up siphoning off visitors, as I fear in many cases it will, then this will ultimately be a destructive move.
I used Google definitions in my link up above to illustrate a point. When the feature came out, there was a reaction that was very similar to the concerns I'm hearing now. The argument was that Google would be using our content, but would increase the likelihood of traffic for that content. I wonder, in the case of definitions, if that's proven to be true. Google would know. I know that I use definitions... love the feature... and that I don't visit the source sites very often.
Maybe Google can justify this news comments feature by giving us some information about anticipated benefits to the source sites as well as to the users.
|I also share Marcia's reservations about the "useless swill that often masquerades as Web 2.0." |
Wow efv, that is the first post I've read from you that is a tiny bit critical of Google. (Not saying there are none, just that it's the first I've read).
Personally don't have a big problem with this if it's done as stated. For a real example from the news:
Denise Richards & Charlie Sheen have been feuding. She does press releases to make her look good, but is a raving lunatic with him. Yesterday he gave a rare interview to the tabloids to clear up misconceptions. If he had an outlet like Google News to clear his name, then he wouldn't need to go to the people who are besmirching his good name. Of course this would turn Google news from an aggregator to a newsmaker, but if he commented on a story, the site which posted the story will get lots more traffic, so I don't think it will hurt the sites to have comments by the people making the news.
I recall an old black and white movie...
Aliens arrived and handed humans a book. It was written in the visitors' language.
When asked what the title was, they replied "How to Serve Men".
Everyone was so happy! The aliens made famine, sickness and war the thing of the past! Everyone was healthy and happy.
The population grew. The aliens offered relocation to their their planet. The news returning from the far planets were all great, no human ever wanted to come back!
Finally, one person deciphered the alien language and translated the rest of the the book.
It was a cook book.
"Don't be Evil".
|Wow efv, that is the first post I've read from you that is a tiny bit critical of Google. (Not saying there are none, just that it's the first I've read). |
You've missed quite a few, apparently, but in any case, I'm not being critical of Google pers se, I'm being skeptical about the value--especially to users--of this particular idea.
|Personally don't have a big problem with this if it's done as stated. |
I guess it depends on how the comments are implemented. Still, as someone who uses Google News as a gateway to news stories, I'd hate to see the interface cluttered up with "he said, she said" comments or damage control and anonymous postings by corporate PR departments (the news equivalent of phony "user reviews" of hotels on Web 2.0 travel sites).
Yes, it's all in the implementation.
I can't see this as being inline with Googles vision of organising the worlds information - this is more like creating information and not really their business.
If I were a news publisher I sertantly would prefer any commenting to be on my own website and not on G or anywhare elles.
As I see it Google News is a tradeof between the news reporting website and G. The source gets trafic from G News and in return Google can show a news snipper and sell ads on G along with those snippers.
To me this sounds like Google wants to hang on to their visitors a bit longer and show them even more ads before they leave- ads that are supposed to be shown on the news publishers websites and NOT on Google.
This is NOT a part of the initial "trade" made between News sources and Google News and I can only see this as Google wanting a bigger slice of the ads cake.
As a news publisher I would NOT be happy at all.
|As a news publisher I would NOT be happy at all. |
As a news publisher, couldn't you just opt out of Google News with robots.txt?
|As a news publisher I would NOT be happy at all. |
As a news publisher I'm not sure how to feel about it yet. Will there be a "google effect" of popularly commented articles driving more traffic?
|As a news publisher, couldn't you just opt out of Google News with robots.txt? |
Sure that's an option for those running major news sources such as a Newspaper or similar.
For medium and small news sources it's not really an option to opt out - Google News is more or less a momopoly in terms of getting the news out to people.
As a google stock holder it's a brilliant idear. For those medium and small news soruces who has no alternative to turn to, I defenitly can't see any value added.
news.com has some more details:
|The process is not for everyone, and in fact requires a lengthy verification process of sending off your comment and credentials to a special Google e-mail address, and later verifying your identity via domain name and an e-mail follow-up from Google staff. If you pass the test, your comment will show up alongside the article. |
Comments don't seem to be limited to persons who are mentioned in the article, though. They seem to be accepting comments from "experts" in whatever the article is about. Two of the three comments on the examples found in the wild mentioned in the news.com article are NOT mentioned in the associated article nor associated with any company or organization mentioned. However, one of the articles, which is about "McBranding" does have a comment from a VP of McDonald's Corporate Communications.
I see this as a highly slippery slope. Google is going to decide for us who the experts are.
The only winners seem to be the publicity-hound "experts" who are already gaming the system, on day one.
And a whole new branch of SEO opens-up...
|I see this as a highly slippery slope. Google is going to decide for us who the experts are. |
Even the leading / most recognised world media often have a hard time deciding who the experts really are.
There is enough hot air out there already, why do we have to have more internet space taken up.
I cannot see this working. How could it? I mean an experts responds to an article in TIME, then the author responds to that, and so. If all this is happening on G I doubt TIME or the owners would be too happy.
I rarely read user comments on the news articles on any site, many are often argumentative, uninformed and a waste of space and my time.
Visit's concerns are mine as well. Anyway, WW best WSJ on this story today.
|Anyway, WW best WSJ on this story today. |
Actually, right now, WebmasterWorld beats WSJ on *anything*, including mere presence.
They've goofed up their redirects. There's a slash missing after the ".com", and I can't find a single page that resolves.
I think they need to keep Rupert out of the server room...
(edit: it's only broken for Firefox. Odd.)
If Digg was a stock it would have just crashed.
If I'm reading this right, it is a great idea and might lead to journalists actually reporting things correctly. I've had a few news articles written about myself and things I've been associated with and they always have incorrect information in them.
I just hope that they can do a better job moderating comments on these news stories than they do on YouTube.
The missing element is a universal, reliable electronic ID. It's a big problem for ANY serious discussion site on the net.
I haven't heard this phrase used lately, but it's an oldie but goodie that, unfortunately still applies:
|On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog. |
As has been pointed out, dozens of news sites already allow people to comment on their stories, and have been doing so for years. I see those comments as simply close-to-real-time "Letters to the Editor".
The key for Google I think is to simply summarize the original source material, and provide very prominent links to the various news outlets so people can study the info in more depth if they are interested.
Thus, Google continues to drive traffic to the external news media AND simultaneously gives people the opportunity to voice their opinions, which is not the worst thing in the world. In fact, it may allow readers to consider points of view that they otherwise might not have heard before. Given how much of the worldwide media is falling into fewer corporate hands, having diverse input has the potential to help offset that dangerous trend, at least a little bit.
|I recall an old black and white movie... |
That was actually a classic Twilight Zone episode, which Rod Serling wrote based on a short story by science fiction writer Damon Knight.
ps. Oh man, wouldn't the great Rod Serling have a grand ol' time with the internet. What a genius...
Google is pretty inconsistent about clearly stating who is allowed to comment on a story.
I found this quote in a blog, attributed to Google News Help, but I can't find it myself in the help to save my soul. Can somebody help me find it? (Yes, I already Googled it and failed...)
|"The story may be about you or your organization, you may be quoted, or we may have determined that you are an expert in the topic of the story." |
So, Google (apparently) acknowledges that they are taking it upon themselves to deem whom is an expert. But they leave this out of most of the relevant help text.
It's clear from the comments posted so far, though, that this IS their policy, as numerous comments have shown-up already from "experts" not directly involved in the story.
What happens when there's a story about "the American taxpayer", "married men", "minors", etc.
Will the ACLU sue to allow "the American taxpayer" to comment?
One of the problems is that (according to another blog - take it for what it's worth) the announcement was written by "a couple of software engineers". Is this the sort of announcement that should have been written by a couple of software engineers?
It is a feature, though, that is "in testing", though curiously they've left out the classic Google weasle-word: "beta".