Posted April 28, 2009 11:04 am by with 8 comments

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According to Hollywood reporter Sharon Waxman, Google could soon decide which news you should be reading on a daily basis.

Waxman cornered Google CEO Eric Schmidt and grilled him asked him over cocktails to share his vision for Google News. Here’s what he reportedly said:

In about six months, the company will roll out a system that will bring high-quality news content to users without them actively looking for it.

Under this latest iteration of advanced search, users will be automatically served the kind of news that interests them just by calling up Google’s page. The latest algorithms apply ever more sophisticated filtering – based on search words, user choices, purchases, a whole host of cues – to determine what the reader is looking for without knowing they’re looking for it.

Does that sound like Big Brother to anyone else? Seriously, Google will decide the news that it thinks I should be interested in? What happened to free will?

Yes, I am somewhat kidding–Google will likely no more customize its news results than it does currently with web search results–but if you think your local newspaper is biased in its reporting, wait until Google gets a hold of your news!

  • LH

    I don’t really see it as big brother. However, I personally don’t want news that is ‘biased’ to my personal interest, the same as I don’t want personalized search results. I want to see what may not be in the normal realm of my news sources or story interest.

    Though, I have also often thought that the growth in use of news aggregators could be used to modify opinion if a hidden agenda was used to select stories. I’m sure someone in corporate America is looking for a way to do it.

  • What would be interesting is if they had a feature to highlight news that would allow you to switch the filter between news that agrees and disagrees with your profile so that you could get both sides of issues.

    That could be useful during elections and when researching controversial things like autism treatments, etc.

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  • Well if it displayed news for you that was biased based on some arbitrary criteria, for eg Google’s obsession with the Obama administration – that’s big brother.

    But if it shows the info based on personal preferences that you’ve displayed in your online behaviour… not exactly BB, but I wonder what it will do for open mindedness and the ability to see other perspectives… not to mention people’s development of a viewpoint based on balanced information…


  • Google is starting to remind me of the villain in the James Bond movie “Tomorrow Never Dies” who aimed to take over the world using his news media conglomeration…but where’s the 007 who’ll stop them?!

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  • This is not surprising. Google will one day have it’s hands in everything.

    Caleb you are right, who is going to be the hero? Jobs….Steve Jobs….

    I can see the Fox Special now, When Google Goes Bad…

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  • Laura Frizell

    I personally think this is a really cool feature. It shows the innovation that is taking place today with search engines, which is just mind blowing. I think it will be beneficial to have a high-quality news source that is somewhat personalized. I understand the argument of “biased” news, but I don’t see this feature as a threat to the objectivity of online news. It would still be more than possible to gain access to the rest of the news online, but it would prioritize the topics that I am interested. I say, “way to go google.” I’d love to try it out.

  • Who here believes the news we’re getting right now isn’t agenda driven? Can I see by a show of hands? Just as I thought, I don’t see any hands. It’s good to know that folks here are wise enough to know that 90% of the news we get right now has a very left leaning bias. In which case, what harm could Google do? All I would really like to see is the ability to ‘toggle’ the results on or off in a default arrangement. And in that situation, I would surely turn it off. I’ll pick and choose what I put in my head myself as much as I can. I don’t need any help from the media in making those decisions.

  • Maybe they are crossing the line with this one…

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