Tuesday, May 03, 2005

This is a High Quality Posting

Google has filed a new patent in the US, according to the BBC:
Google is planning to improve online news searches.

A patent filed in the US will allow stories to be ranked according to their quality, rather than just by relevance.

The patent would create a system to compare the track record and credibility of different news sources, New Scientist magazine has reported.

The database would weigh up a series of variables, including story length, number of staff employed and amount of traffic to its website.

Issue of subjectivity

Currently Google News will provide thousands of results, based on relevance to the keyword entered.

More recent stories will rank highest.

The system means a news story written by trusted sources such as the BBC or CNN could be outranked by a more obscure publication if the latter is a more current story.

Have they never read Zen In the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? Permit me to rant a moment here (well, it is my blog after all)...

Whatever Google is going to use to rank by 'quality', it isn't going to be quality, but something else. The side effect over which I have misgivings is another significant social dilution of what is meant by 'quality'. How will Google measure 'omissions'?

Rank however you want, but don't try to tell me it's a ranking by 'quality'.