Google press releases posing as news

I’ve been following this story over at the Register about Google. As many of my readers know I have something of an interest in Google as a company, and this latest news has really come as no surprise. I had never thought this might happen, but it has. Google, the world’s favourite search engine, have reconstituted press releases as ‘news’.

Hm. The Register is right on every point. Especially on this critical one – and one I have made in a broader sense about Google itself.

Transparency in the instruments we use is vital, to ensure the integrity of the system. So we need to know how these editorial decisions are made.

And as El Reg hack Andrew Orlowski also points out with regard to Google’s claim that:

“The selection and placement of stories on this page were determined automatically by a computer program. ”

No they weren’t. This isn’t some synthetic version of reality created entirely by robots. The selection and placement of stories were determined by a person, someone who thinks unedited press releases from lobbyists, special interest groups or corporations are “News”.

How can corportate propaganda be called ‘news’? There have been some angry responses on the Reg. Readers are not happy. And how can Google justify its ‘news’ service putting Press Releases on and prostituting it as ‘news’?

The mind Goggles.