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On Google News

On, Jack Shafer writes that the new Google News, with its near-continuously updated, auto-generated compilation of news stories from thousands of sources, is the online news industry's killer app — one that he thinks will replace or supplant many other news portals.

And, if you're a news junkie, Google News does seem hard to beat. But is everyone really a news junkie? (This is one question a journalist probably isn't the best person to answer, it being a little close to home; I'm not sure we can trust Shafer's apparent presumption.) And if you're not a news junkie, isn't Google News a bit of an overkill app? If, say, most news readers just want the day's news made easily digestible, couldn't you do better?

(This is something I've actually been thinking about for a little while — any and all comments would be greatly appreciated!)

Addendum: Nick Denton makes a good point. Important news stories aren't necessarily reported by multiple sources; Google News may provide complete coverage of the biggest stories everyone knows about, but it looks like the ones that a single source investigated and reported will slip through the cracks (unless of course they're so big they get picked up elsewhere).

Addendum Two: The Wall Street Journal weighs in with its own verdict: "More isn't better."

Addendum Three: Time magazine offers another mixed review.

Addendum Four: Staci Kramer, in the Online Journalism Review: "Who needs editors? Well, Google does."

Addendum Five: The San Francisco Chronicle's C.W. Nevius writes (regarding both weblogs and Google News), "No matter how we try to end journalism as we know it, we will always need good editors."

Addendum Six: The Chicago Tribune offers a number of pros and cons.

September 25, 2002 1:19 PM


i wouldn't really call myself a news junkie, and I think it's great. Nicely presented, easy to digest, and a huge variation in sources. It's already become my default site for a quick scan of the news.

Posted by jonner on September 25, 2002 1:56 PM

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