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November 12, 2003

Google News, now with less

Daniel Radosh

Google News, now with less news. Five (maybe six) of the first ten Google News entries for Prince Chalres are fake stories, parenthetically identified as "News Satire."

Prince Charles Collapses; Hospitalized, Dennis Kucinich Considers Email Proposal from Prince Charles, etc.

I've got nothing against news satire (though it's pathetic that so many places now think they're the Onion) but I don't want to have to slog through it when I'm searching for real news. Also, someone at the office was already briefly taken in by that first story, which is what happens when real news is so much like a bad joke to begin with.

BTW, the sixth story, which is not labeled satire, but I've got my suspicions, is Prince Charles totally straight, claim Chicago women he's wooed

Update: Among the many things I love about Google is that they actually reply when you send them feedback. In this case, the reply was inadequate, but here it is:

Google News strives to provide access to as many news sources as possible. As you've noticed, we do include some sources which are intended as satire. However, we feel it is important to display the term "News Satire" next to the name of these sources so that you can choose whether or not you wish to access them. If you find a news source in Google News which offers only satirical or non-factual stories, but does not display a "News Satire" tag, please send us the name of that publication.

We appreciate your taking the time to write to us, and hope that you will contact us with your suggestions and observations in the future.

The Google Team

I don't know why it's hard to understand that news satire is not actually a form of news. This is a little like a pet store saying, We strive to have as many animals as possible so we do include some plastic troll dolls, but you can tell if you read the label. At the very least they could separate the satire from the rest of the results.

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