December 4, 2006

Re Google News and Centcom Inclusion: This Post Is Unintentionally Unresolved

Last Monday (Nov. 27), I raised the issue of why all but one relatively minor web site of was being excluded from Google News, and entirely excluded from Yahoo! News. I asked for technical help explaining and confirming what I believed I had found.

Tuesday, Brain Shavings came to the rescue and filled in a lot of technical holes that on balance confirmed what I had reported. He also noted that Centcom press releases were given Blog and not News status by Google. Spc. Patrick Ziegler of Centcom commented at Brain Shavings’ post that he would report the issues “to the powers that be.”

In response to Brain Shavings, my post concentrated its fire on Google because of the blog treatment of press releases.

Late Tuesday morning, I sent an Open Letter through Google’s Corporate blog to a Google News Product Manager who had posted an entry there, and copied Google’s Public Relations Department.

Within three hours, I got an e-mail response from Daniel Pastor at Google, who wrote, “I’ve sent it to the approrpiate (sic) person at Google News, and they should be in touch with you shortly.”

Nothing happened. I phoned Mr. Pastor Thursday afternoon, and he said that he would look into the situation.

It is now just over six days later — an eternity in Internet time. The fact that you’re seeing this post indicates that I have yet to hear back from anyone at Google News, but you can rest assured that I am not about to let up on this. As the Open Letter indicates, I want to know how Centcom’s near-total exclusion occurred, whether the exclusion was due to inaction by Centcom or the result of actual rejection(s) by Google, and what has been and will be done to remedy the situation.

Some important contextCommenter Kevin at the “open letter” post was under the mistaken impression, as I suspect others are, that press releases from companies and others don’t make Google News, and that military releases perhaps ought be considered to be on an equivalent level. First, the fact is that press releases DO make Google News (even the most fawning and mindless ones from PR Newswire, as an example). Second, in light of the by-now irrefutable fact that the media in Iraq are failing to accurately report what is happening there, to the point of making stuff up, and using bogus and anonymous sources in the process, the military should at the very least have equal access to the same outlets the press is using to spread its “news.” Frankly, anything short of equal access is an insult.

(By the way, I haven’t forgotten about Yahoo!, but I’m hoping that Centcom will get that one going with Brain Shavings’ suggestions.)


UPDATE: Brain Shavings reports unimpressive follow-through at Centcom, and great displeasure at having to do so.



  1. CENTCOM deserves some blame for this problem, too.

    Comment by The Puddle Pirate — December 4, 2006 @ 2:58 pm

  2. Why aren’t CENTCOM press releases included in Google News or Yahoo News?…

    **UPDATE: Tom’s still asking questions, and so am I.** BizzyBlog’s Tom Blumer wonders why Google’s and Yahoo’s respective news search engines miss almost all of CENTCOM’s news, and asks for help figuring it all out. No problemo, Tom: I dug around …

    Trackback by Brain Shavings — December 4, 2006 @ 3:14 pm

  3. CENTCOM’s news problem…

    It’s been almost a week since I suggested simple solutions to CENTCOM’s difficulties in spreading good news from Iraq and Afghanistan. CENTCOM’s seen my post, but as far as I can tell they’ve done nothing. The solutions I suggested are free and eas…

    Trackback by Brain Shavings — December 4, 2006 @ 3:17 pm

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