- [This is an 'improvement'? -ed.]
- Google has plans that will dramatically improve the results
of internet news searches, by ranking them according to quality rather
than simply by their date and relevance to search terms.
- The ambitious system is revealed by patents filed in
the US and around the world (WO 2005/029368) by researchers based at the
company's headquarters in Mountain View, California.
- At the moment the company's search engine throws up thousands
of "hits" in response to simple entries such as "Iraq",
which lead to news websites. These are ranked either in order of relevance
or by date, so that the most recent or most focused appear at the top of
the huge list.
- This means that articles carrying more authority, say
from CNN or the BBC, can be ousted from the first page of results, simply
because they are not as recent or as relevant to the keyword entered in
the search line.
- Now Google, whose name has become synonymous with internet
searching, plans to build a database that will compare the track record
and credibility of all news sources around the world, and adjust the ranking
of any search results accordingly.
- The database will be built by continually monitoring
the number of stories from all news sources, along with average story length,
number with bylines, and number of the bureaux cited, along with how long
they have been in business. Google's database will also keep track of the
number of staff a news source employs, the volume of internet traffic to
its website and the number of countries accessing the site.
- Google will take all these parameters, weight them according
to formulae it is constructing, and distil them down to create a single
value. This number will then be used to rank the results of any news search.
- The patent also reveals that the same system could be
roped in to rank other search results, not simply news. So sales and services
could in the future be listed on the basis of price and the reputation
of the company involved.
- - From issue 2497 of New Scientist magazine, 30 April
2005, page 24
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