Google has an interesting post on the Google News blog today, talking about how far Google News has come since 9/11. It has indeed come quite a long way.
Actually Google News was "born in the aftermath" of the tragedy, as Google News Founder and Head Krishna Bharat points out. "At Google we realized that our ability to display links to the freshest and most relevant news was limited by a fundamental problem: fresh news lacked hyperlinks," Bharat says. "Google’s ranking depended on links from other authors on the web. Fresh news, by definition, was too fresh to accumulate such links. A new importance signal was needed."
"We have certainly come a long way in the last decade," he says. "Indeed, Google News now has over 70 editions in over 30 languages, and sends over 1 billion clicks a month to news publishers worldwide. Additionally, 1 out of 6 web searches on Google includes a set of news results, which are computed with the help of Storyrank. This helps bring coverage of the most important news story matching the query to the top of the ranking."
"In the last 10 years there has been a lot of learning, iteration, and innovation in our team. And most importantly, we have acquired a loyal audience of news enthusiasts, who appreciate diversity and the ability to access multiple points of view on a story."
The diversity of multiple points of view is an important point, particularly considering the ongoing debate of news-for-pageviews, brought up again this week. MG Siegler of TechCrunch took to his personal blog to call Mashable "pathetic" for writing so many bin Laden stories he deemed to be purely for SEO. Read our take here. His larger point, of course was about not only Mashable, but the news industry as a whole, and perhaps even more so about the tech news industry, considering the title of the post was "On Bin Laden Killlng Tech Blogging."
Bharat provides a download of a list of 150,000 links from the last five days, which may point to what Siegler is talking about, but Google paints the image in a much more positive light. Look at all of these different points of view. The beauty is that news consumers have the ability to choose which sources they want.
Google of course provides Google Trends, showing the hot search items of any given moment - a clear blueprint for what to write about if you want to try and capitalize on some quick search traffic (the keyword there being "try"). On Monday, bin Laden-related queries made up Google's entire top 20 list at times. Yahoo also shared some search data.
As multiple sources (and common sense) have indicated, bin Laden news has indeed driven massive amounts of traffic to news sites.