Google News experiments with human control, promotes a new serendipity with Editors’ Picks

Google News last week rolled out a new experiment: Editors’ Picks. Think of Editors’ Picks as a Spotlight-like feature that, instead of highlighting “in-depth pieces of lasting value,” shines a light on what real live human news editors at partner news organizations have deemed valuable. In that sense, Editors’ Picks — currently being run in partnership with less than a dozen news outlets, including The Washington Post, Newsday, Reuters, and Slate — could recreate the didn’t-know-you’d-love-it-til-you-loved-it experience of the bundled news product within the broader presentation of Google News’ algorithmically curated news items. Editors’ Picks also does what its name suggests: it allows editors to choose which stories they introduce to the Google News audience. Publishers can choose to promote stories that have done well, traffic-wise, amplifying that success — or they can choose to promote stories that have gotten less traction. Or they can simply choose to promote stories that are funny or important or touching or all of the above — stories that are simply worth reading. The point is, they can choose. Which is, of course, of a piece with Google’s renewed focus on the news side of its search functionalities — and its effort to reach out to news organizations. And it’s of a piece with other sites that have moved from automated news to automation-plus-human-editing. Consumers, for their part, get some choice in the matter, as well: The Editors’ Picks experiment combines crowd-curated content with content selected by news organizations themselves — editorial authority and algorithmic — within the same news presentation

http://www.niemanlab.org/2010/06/google-news-experiments-with-human-control-promotes-a-new-serendipity-with-editors-pick/

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