Google News to focus on local

Just came across something interesting from a few days ago that I somehow missed, but which could have serious implications for newspapers and their evolving relationship with Google: Search Engine Journal notes that Google News is tinkering with its algorithm and the way it ranks news stories. It wants to do a number of things, but one of the main ones is to promote the publication that first breaks a news story, rather than one of the follow-up pieces from newswires or larger papers.

That’s good for smaller local papers, since they will get more exposure and hence more traffic. It doesn’t say so in the Google News blog post, but I have to wonder if this is related to some of the criticism that Google got after they did the deal with Associated Press to host AP stories on Google servers and some people complained that local publications weren’t getting credit from Google News for the stories they were breaking.

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