Google News’ most astonishing accomplishment is that it’s produced entirely by computer algorithms. The company seems to delight in the fact that it relies on engineers and product managers but no editors, much less reporters, for its news section. (Of course, like fellow aggregator Yahoo News, it relies on other news publications’ editors and writers.)
The automated system is far from perfect, as legions of bloggers and journalists have observed when Google News places the wrong photo next to an accompanying story, or when it misses major breaking news, such as the space shuttle Columbia disaster, which received no mention for more than an hour.
Despite those predictable flaws, it’s been puzzling to read Google News’ takes on John Kerry and George W. Bush over the past month. On Aug. 24, for example, users who clicked on the “John Kerry” link under Google News’ In the News heading were treated on the first page of 100 search results to these headlines, among others…