My chat with Google News founder, Krishna Bharat, with video
Krishna Bharat, the creator of Google News, has never been a journalist. Though he's often asked what is more important for the search giant’s news site: editorial judgment or Google’s famous attention to its algorithms. The answer, he said, is both.
“All we are doing is synthesizing and ranking what multiple editors say are important,” Bharat said. “It is a collective wisdom and output."
Those are among the many ideas Bharat is considering as he tries to understand how people consume and share news. He's thinking about speed reading, for example, and what Google could do to help speed up the process of reading through stories. If you can toggle more easily between screens and windows on mobile devices, would that keep a reader longer on Google News and make them consume even more stories?
In a recent visit to The Post, the Google distinguished researcher and I discussed this and other trends in a sweeping conversation about the media industry, The industry is undergoing disruptions many say can be blamed on Google and others who aggregate and make money off the content of struggling newspapers and broadcasters.
To that, Bharat points to the traffic the site helps bring back to media Web sites. Google -- including search and Google News - drives 4 billion clicks back to news publishers' sites. Of those 4 billion, 1 billion comes from Google News. Companies can also opt to prevent Google’s crawlers from displaying text of stories from their sites.
The merits of an aggregation service: readers find differing opinions they may not seek otherwise. For example, when searching about U.S.-China trade tension, a reader looking for a story by The Wall Street Journal may also see a report from a China-based news service presenting that government’s views.
“What we’re trying to do is get more people to see multiple perspectives,” Bharat said.
Bharat talked about two other areas Google News will be focusing attention going forward: personalization and wisdom of crowds. It wants to deliver news tailored for a user’s interest, but also is mindful of the “cocoon” tailored news can create (read: celeb news and little on Afghanistan). It is also exploring ways social networking can be used to share news. Facebook has become a huge driver of traffic for news sites as its users post, link and search for news on the site.
But he wouldn’t comment on the obvious: So what does that mean for Google News’ integration into Google Buzz?
March 22, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
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