As Google News prepares to celebrate its tenth birthday on 22 September, the aggregation site could find that it finally has friends in the world of journalism willing to R.S.V.P.
From the moment the search engine giant launched its news service in 2002, Google News has found itself embroiled in bitter feuds with journalists and news outlets concerned that the internet company would siphon-off readers and make money on the back of ‘stolen’ content.
Using a sophisticated algorithm to ‘harvest’ stories from 4,000 international news sites, the original incarnation of Google News produced a constantly updated index of breaking news headlines from around the world. Today the ‘Googlebot’ aggregates stories from over 50,000 news sources and is frequently the first port of call for readers chasing a particular news item or wanting a global news perspective concentrated in one location. Unveiling the Google News project for the first time, then-Google product manager Marissa Meyer announced: “From the reader perspective, this changes news reading habits, because (usually) you pick a source and pick the story that interests you. With this service, you pick the story that interests you and then pick the source.”