Even before its recent “redesign,” which was claimed to provide an “uncluttered” look, Google News was one of the worst news aggregator sites on the Internet. Many longtime Google News users have complained about the site’s quality and dubious “news” content. Google has offered no reasonable explanations for its poor business decisions that have resulted in Google News being a repository for misleading news links. Keeping in mind that Google received its initial seed investment from the CIA’s IN-Q-IT, now known as IN-Q-TEL, the agency’s venture capital firm in the Silicon Valley, the CIA may be playing some sort of massive social network experiment on Google News users.
The fact that Google News programmers cannot seem to distinguish between “World News” and “U.S. News” is laughable for a multi-billion dollar company that has supposedly recruited the best and brightest technologists into its ranks. The following appeared under Google News’s “World News” section on July 3, 2017:
“Media reaps benefit from Trump attacks,” The Hill
“White House pays women 80 cents for every dollar paid to men,” CNN
“New Jersey welfare fund arrests spark anti-Semitic sentiment,” USA Today
“Police Say Abduction Suspect Viewed Sexual Fetish Website,” U.S. News & World Report, with a story on the same subject regarding the University of Illinois appearing in the Champagne/Urbana News-Gazette
“Colorado man mistakes son for intruder, shoots and kills him,” WHIO
“5 significant gas explosions in Pennsylvania in the past decade,” PennLive.com
Something is seriously wrong with Google’s algorithms or the foreign programmers they have hired, to the exclusion of American employees, do not realize that from a U.S. perspective, events in Washington, DC, New Jersey, Illinois, Colorado, and Pennsylvania do not constitute “World News.”
Even Google News’s Science offering is trashed by nonsensical click bait, such as a Washington Post story, titled “No, NASA is not hiding kidnapped children on Mars.” The story emanates from comments made on the Infowars show by Alex Jones and his guest Robert Steele about a secret program to kidnap children and send them to Mars. With the advent of the Trump presidency, those who were once considered “controversial” are now just plain crazy. Yet, such wild rantings are found under “Science” in Google News!
Google News’s search engine is no better. Some apologists for Google claim that the searches are tailored for each customer. If that is so, why do this editor’s searches on various countries and areas of the world come back with the first ten stories being about sports. I do not like professional sports and never visit sporting websites. Therefore, if Google is to be believed, no sports stories should be returned on searches on international place names.
As an example, the following comes back from Google News on a search for “Barbados”:
“Marion makes Africa umpire team,” The Nation
“Barbados lose football opener to Dominica,” Nation News
“Young Gems leave for Botswana,” Nation News
Try out a search for “South Africa,” not an insignificant country, and returned are:
“England v South Africa: Faf du Plessis to miss first Test for family reasons,” BBC Sport. Among professional sports, which I detest in general, cricket is dead last on the list of topics to be ignored. This “top news story” about South Africa is followed by:
“South Africa disappointed by Cosafa exit,” BBC Sport. Cosafa is the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations and not a Covfefe-like typo by Donald Trump. This is a totally unimportant story about professional football of the soccer variety. Who cares? I don’t. Ranked around number five is a story about an upcoming no-confidence vote by the South African parliament against Jacob Zuma, the president of the country. Yet, cricket and soccer stories are given more prominence by Google News.
Try another country, New Zealand, and the result is the same, except rugby is considered more important by Google News than anything else happening in the nation:
“Lions beat New Zealand on tiniest of margins, and a thrilling finale awaits,” The Guardian
“New Zealand club rugby player in intensive care with spinal injury,” Telegraph (UK). Sad story, but the player might have taken up a safer line of work, like programming actual news stories for Google News searches.
Ranked third by Google in the search return is a fairly important story:
“New Zealand’s immigration laws favour the rich, a South African family says.” Radio New Zealand.
Ranked fourth is another non-news topic concerning Google News’s other distraction affectation, Entertainment News:
“Katy Perry gushes about her great ‘love’ for New Zealand,” Newshub. Katy Perry? Really, who gives a crap about her? Hillary Clinton loves her, as do many women motorcyclists. I don’t and don’t want stories about Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, or Taylor Swift returned on searches about important events around the world. Unless, of course, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, along with Madonna, go missing on a flight over New Guinea and Don McLean writes a song about them. He could title it “American Magpies.”
Google News received five thumbs down before their recent “redesign.” Now, there are not enough thumbs in the world to express displeasure about them.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
Copyright © 2017 WayneMadenReport.com
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).