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November 30, 2002


Posted by Mike on November 30, 2002 1:10 PM

Sven sent along an article from the NYT on Google's uncanny sense of the zeitgeist. Evidently there's a cool ticker at Google HQ that just scrolls a (G-Rated) crawl of all the search queries the site receives. Google, of course, also provides the Zeitgeist in HTML (the end-of-year timeline is particularly neat).

Via Doc "Google Google on the wall" Searls, there's also a bit by Michael Kinsley on Google News.

I took a timid crack at what bugged me about Google's news service a few months ago. Since then, I've decided it's less of an editorial entity in the traditional sense of an editor out there looking for "what's best" as it is a topical zeitgeist aggregator of its own. Sorry, but there's no way it's judging the quality of the writing or the journalism, so that leaves it as an exercise in story popularity. No harm in that if you know what you're getting, and Kinsley's wry take on the whole thing is more useful than the BBC's initial shrill screeches of dismay or the countervaling noise from the Google fetishists.

I also think it's mostly useless for any "major" story if you don't like what's on the front page... it doesn't seem to understand that wire copy is wire copy is wire copy, though it seems to be favoring the standard light rewrite over AP bylines these days.