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More on Google News being broken, it’s the alerts as well

More on Google News being broken, it’s the alerts as well

Duncan Riley> I wrote the other day on Google News being broken, and the further I look the worse it gets.

Naturally I subscribe to Google News Alers on blog related terms: “Blog”, “Blogs” and “Weblog”. Now in my last post on the subject I mentioned how a lot of the results are basically turning into rubbish. That still remains true. But there is something else, the alerts don’t work properly, and are slow, and are most likely a waste of time.

Why? well I won’t name the scrapper that is delivering a RSS feed to my bloglines account from Google News because I don’t want it shut down (like a lot of its predecessors), but if you’re really keen you can find the link on Nick W’s always excellent Thread Watch, which is where I discovered it. But what the scrapper shows me is that Google News Alerts are broken as well. Basically, the delay from a news story being posted on Google to the Alert being delivered varies between 3-12 hours, and that’s if you even get it at all. That’s right: the scrapper is delivering more results than the Alerts on the same search terms, although I must add that like most things on Google News at the moment, a lot of it’s irrelevant to the term searched. None the less, if a 3rd party scrapper can do a better job than Google News Alerts it’s probably time to reduce the clutter in my inbox and unsubscribe. Not good enough Google.

View Comments (5)
  • I’ve had problems with Alerts too. Some of my terms haven’t come through for two or more days. I’ve tried seeding the unusual ones around the place, and though I know my site has been spidered, the terms are still not registering. Have they overstretched themselves at last. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s taken so long!

  • I think it’s immature and rude to scrape a site clearly against that site’s TOS. It’s Google’s bandwidth and engineering resources, and despite what might be perceived as bad decisions or slow development in some areas by Google, that doesn’t give people the right to abuse others’ stuff.

    As I’ve noted elsewhere, I also feel exactly the same way about BugMeNot. Don’t like the terms? Don’t use the product or service, simple as that (and hey, maybe even make a BETTER one).

  • Adam, I’m no lawyer, but I think the TOS reads that you can’t display the results of the scrape on a website. But that might be just me.

    Anyway, thanks for posting about this interesting bit of news, Duncan. I don’t use Google Alerts so I wasn’t aware it was slower and had fewer results.

  • Yahoo’s news alerts aren’t any better. Some one needs to develop news alerts that are smart enough to sort the wheat from the chaff!

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