Posts tagged Google News

Even robots have biases.

Any decision process, whether human or algorithm, about what to include, exclude, or emphasize — processes of which Google News has many — has the potential to introduce bias. What’s interesting in terms of algorithms though is that the decision criteria available to the algorithm may appear innocuous while at the same time resulting in output that is perceived as biased.

Nick Diakopoulos, Nieman Lab. Understanding bias in computational news media.

Whether the cause is ideological or systematic, the outcome is, for now, the same: algorithms appear to be as biased as editors in their sorting of news. Click the link to read on, and see more about its author here.

There’s no one to blame for this, really. But it does illustrate, tastelessly and uncomfortably, that it will be a long time — perhaps not in my lifetime — before human editors are totally dispensable.

Alex Johnson writes in “Human Editors Matter" that real life editors are still essential. To illustrate the point he notes an automated headline generated by Google News about a missing boy found dead in a freezer.

The totally unrelated dek (or subhed) accompanying the headline reads: “A host of new surveys don’t paint a pretty picture for many small businesses. Uncertainty about the economy, slow retail sales and high commodity prices have small business owners in the dumps this summer.”

Google News Gets All Expandy
Google announced on its news blog yesterday that it’s added increased functionality to its US news presentation. Stories can be “expanded” in order to see related multimedia content.
So, for example, in the above we have the main Reuters story about IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn followed by related videos and images. The tab in the upper right opens and closes these extra offerings and appears on mouseover.
One new feature not pictured above is a labeling system that tells the reader why particular related stories appear. 
"For stories you’ve expanded," writes Chase Hensel, Google News’ Associate Product Manager, "you’ll see genre labels for some of the additional articles that explain why they were chosen and how they add value. For example, you might see something labeled as an ‘Opinion’ piece or an indication that an article is ‘In Depth.’"

Google News Gets All Expandy

Google announced on its news blog yesterday that it’s added increased functionality to its US news presentation. Stories can be “expanded” in order to see related multimedia content.

So, for example, in the above we have the main Reuters story about IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn followed by related videos and images. The tab in the upper right opens and closes these extra offerings and appears on mouseover.

One new feature not pictured above is a labeling system that tells the reader why particular related stories appear. 

"For stories you’ve expanded," writes Chase Hensel, Google News’ Associate Product Manager, "you’ll see genre labels for some of the additional articles that explain why they were chosen and how they add value. For example, you might see something labeled as an ‘Opinion’ piece or an indication that an article is ‘In Depth.’"

Some new features include:

For signed-in users in the Personalized U.S. Edition, “News for You” will now include stories based on your news-related web history. For example, if you click on a lot of articles about baseball, we’ll make sure that you get a chance to see breaking baseball stories.

and…

Also for signed-in users, we’ve introduced “Recommended Sections” in the side column that suggests topics you can add to your news page as custom sections, based on stories you’ve clicked on before.

and…

If you don’t want to see personalized news based on your Web History, you have a few options:Click on the “Standard U.S. Edition” link at the bottom of Google News. This will not delete any of your News settings or Web History. It will switch you to an unpersonalized version of Google News for the duration of your current session. (To switch back, click on “Personalized U.S. Edition”.)
Delete your web history. (Google News may take some time to update.)
Log out of your Google Account.


Via the Google News Blog Automatic Personalization and Recommended Sections in Google News Posted by Lucian Cionca, Software Engineer

Some new features include:

For signed-in users in the Personalized U.S. Edition, “News for You” will now include stories based on your news-related web history. For example, if you click on a lot of articles about baseball, we’ll make sure that you get a chance to see breaking baseball stories.

and…

Also for signed-in users, we’ve introduced “Recommended Sections” in the side column that suggests topics you can add to your news page as custom sections, based on stories you’ve clicked on before.

and…

If you don’t want to see personalized news based on your Web History, you have a few options:

  • Click on the “Standard U.S. Edition” link at the bottom of Google News. This will not delete any of your News settings or Web History. It will switch you to an unpersonalized version of Google News for the duration of your current session. (To switch back, click on “Personalized U.S. Edition”.)
  • Delete your web history. (Google News may take some time to update.)
  • Log out of your Google Account.

Via the Google News Blog Automatic Personalization and Recommended Sections in Google News Posted by Lucian Cionca, Software Engineer