Google is experimenting with human-curated content with Editors' Picks, a new section on Google News that features stories selected by editors at Reuters, The Washington Post, Newsday and several other publications. That approach is a critical departure from Google's usual math-based methodology. This sort of human-crafted curation is proving increasingly popular in an age in which user-generated content has become the rule rather than the exception.
An experiment Google is conducting on Google News includes a special section
that features favorite stories culled from editors at Reuters, The Washington
Post, Newsday and several other publications.
That approach is a critical departure from Google's usual math-based
methodology. The Editors' Picks section lets professional journalists-rather
than the usual search algorithms-choose the stories that appear there, according
to the Nieman Journalism Lab, which discovered the Google News experiment
Google confirmed that the program was one of 50 to 200 experiments the
company regular runs on its Websites all over the world.
"Right now, we are running a very small experiment in Google News
called Editors' Picks," a Google spokesperson told eWEEK. "For this
limited test, we're allowing a small set of publishers to promote their
original news articles through the Editors' Picks section."
Participating publications are not paying to place their links, which rotate
similar to the way stories rotate on Google News. Links users see one minute
will be replaced by links from other publications the next.
Slate, BBC News, Computerworld, US
Magazine, The Atlantic and Fast Company are among the publications
participating in the experiment, a sort of olive branch to a publishing industry
that has long feared Google is unfairly usurping their content.
The peace offering is that publications can choose to promote already
popular stories, or spotlight lesser-known links that might not appear on
Google News to boost the traffic for those stories.
Whatever the motivation, this sort of human-crafted curation is proving
increasingly popular in an age in which user-generated content has become the
rule instead of the exception.
Twitter lets users create Lists of favorite people to follow. Facebook users
become fans of Web pages.
Now Google, which threw its hat into the social media ring with Google Buzz,
is toying with human curation on its normally
algorithmically generated Websites.