Google announced this morning that they are going to provide limited commenting capability over at their news page – the limited part means limited to the subjects of the news, and or their agents. When I first read the “news, ” (no pun intended) which came via TechMeme in the form of these three stories….
…my first inclination was so what! I used to have Google News as my browser home page – then RSS came along. Google was late to party with respect to integrating feeds into their news page, and I’d since found other sources that sliced and diced things more to my fancy.
My second inclination was…damn, that is going to be a lot of work. Who is going to sort through all those comments, trying to figure out which are legitimate and which are coming from some public relations firm trying to do damage control? Mike Arrington (along with some others) had the same idea.
Then my third and final thought hit…this is going to be great fodder for bloggers! Just imagine a whole bunch of “interested parties” emailing Google with comments meant primarily to “correct” factually inauspicious information and/or debate the facts as presented. A whole lot of emails are going to come in attempting to “re-spin” every news item. Journalists themselves are likely candidates to join the fun.
Bloggers are going to pounce on this – they’ll be linking to scurrilous commentary like white on rice. Now, not only are the news folks themselves going to take heat – the subjects of the news (at least those that lack any sense of self-control) will too. As the de-facto editor-in-chief, Google should get used to ducking – it could get very ugly. For the bloggers’ sake, let’s hope there is no comment retraction function!
Rather than just rain on the parade with gross speculation that will likely wind up completely and utterly wrong, I’ll end with a suggestion for Google – call the guys at Intense Debate and let them help you with the implementation bit. I saw a presentation they did last night and was impressed. While they could use a little polish on the public speaking front, they explained their technology sufficiently and answered a few tough questions to boot. What really hit me, however, was their humbleness. They didn’t have all the answers, but certainly seemed enthusiastic enough to go find them. That I really liked.
Now if I could only be that way myself.
UPDATE: More from Mike Masnick, with some alternative thoughts.
UPDATE 2: And still more from the other Mike…on the crawling restrictions at Google News. That won’t stop people from linking (and berating), will it?