It just tells me that Google controls what news that you are able to see and that they are not very objective.
edit: of course I am not talking about showing bad results on your prime screen real estate... just choosing the best results from more sources (which is what I thought this article was about).
Should Google start preferring some CS undergrad's uncited poorly-formatted blog instead of stackoverflow as well?
b) It's not an argument to suggest that Google should be carrying some random student news paper. As if Google can't tell the difference between 'The Burlington Vermont Times' and random noise.
And there are individual blogs which have higher quality / better reporting than some regional newspapers. Should those be included as well? Which ones?
Once you start making decisions like these, you are quickly getting into controversial territory. So I can see why Google prefers to abstain and say "it's all users, not our fault!"
I don't think it's 'aggregate users choice' they use, I think it's ultimately 'page rank' reputation at the core of it.
Also, I think if they were using 'user choice popularity' the news would be HuffPo, Buzzfeed, TMZ, Breitbart etc. - we on HN don't read this stuff but it's very, very popular stuff.
Consider that HuffPo for example is more popular that most news orgs on that list, and they do actually have a lot of in-house content ... so why are they not added? Clearly Google has made some kind of editorial choice.
This is not just regular search, it's news, so this becomes more important.
I don't think there is a way around having some kind of editorial opinion, so it should hopefully be transparent, maybe pliable, possibly even regulated.
Second, the criteria for 'reputability' is a great deal of what's at stake here.
Similarly, Google has a ~5" device with about 15-20 slots to fill in.
The actual cost of buying a fridge/extra slot is marginal, the issue is the attention of the consumer.
Now, if I am looking at the google new results, and I see results from bbc.co.uk and "Random Guy's News Site", which one am I going to click? I'd choose bbc.co.uk every time.
So they will be marked as "relevant" and will rise to the top, while "Random Guy's News Site" will be marked irrelevant and fall to the bottom of the list where no one will ever see it.
It's a very good analogy.
Unless someone comes up with a method of somehow listing all 18,000 or whatever entries on the front page, the algorithm has to choose which ones are most popular.