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10.4.06

The Daleks are running the asylum 

Antony Mayfield blogged yesterday about how some writers may have to bend to the ’ wishes. Google News is now such an important destination for many people for their daily dose of current events that publishers fear that it won’t pick up the more headline.
   Quoting The New York Times:

The search-engine “bots” that crawl the Web are increasingly influential, delivering 30 percent or more of the traffic on some , or . And means readers and advertisers, at a time when the is desperately trying to make a living on the Web. …
   In newspapers and magazines, for example, section titles and headlines are distilled nuggets of human brainwork, tapping context and culture. “Part of the craft of for more than a century has been to think up clever titles and headlines, and comes along and says, ‘The heck with that,’” observed Ed Canale, vice president for strategy and new media at The Sacramento Bee.


   This is daft. I thought was here to serve us, not the other way around.
   Google News won’t pick up headlines, thinking their first paragraph is it. Fine by me: the first paragraph is pretty descriptive. And Lucire, the web edition, has been getting search-engine traffic for quite some time—any online knows that.
   My solution to these woes? Wait it out. Never sacrifice your because that makes you human. And certainly do not sacrifice it for a machine.
   If, that is, Google is interested in bettering its technology to match what people are doing.
   Let’s hope that impetus for improvement is there.
   Technology works for humans. End of story.

Del.icio.us tags: media | journalism | technology | Google | news | emotion | humanity | search engine
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Comments:
as new technology comes along it will invariably influence and change the way that we conduct ourselves - look at how the industrial revolution changed the face of work. We will loose certain trades and new ones will be created.

We may also change the way we do things because of technology. Look at the lost art of typesetting.

Though there are always pockets of resistance – people who cling to these old and lost professions.  
True, but with typesetting, we did become more efficient—we didn’t become less creative when PostScript came along, but more creative. It unlocked creative potential within people. Yes, some bits were lost, but they are being reclaimed rapidly, so much so that typesetting is close to where it was prior to phototypesetting. Here, we are asking people to limit their creativity when, probably in six months, the Google News bot will be improved—one would hope—to make this a non-issue.  
You mention that the search engines don't pick up the headlines on Lucire, but that's because you're using image files for the headlines. An image of text isn't text, even if you set its alt attribute to be the text in the image.

All you really need to do is create a class of h1 or h2 to look the way you want, and the spiders will happily index your headlines.  
Qwerty, it was one of those ‘I realized it right after I typed it’ things. You are absolutely right. I have to add that it has picked up some totally weird things though—like the byline as the headline, and not the intro. I realized it was because the byline was entered as all caps and Google News picked that up as a headline—clever, in my opinion. It’s why I think the Google News bot might be cleverer, or could get cleverer.  
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Entries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
   With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.


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