Launch of Google News SA

Google have finally launched Google News South Africa. It took a lot longer than I expected, but it’ll be interesting to see how well it works, and the response, if any, from the big publishers.

At a very superficial first glance, all the big local publishers are there, and international news seems to be more prominent than it is on the local sites. There’re also some sources that may be unfamiliar to South African readers. The top business story as I write this comes from the Asian Tribune, interestingly pulled from the World Socialist Web Site, while the local business sites are very poorly represented in the business section. There’s not a single article from Business Report, Finance24 or Business Day. It’s perhaps a result of the times of the day that those particular sites update, with Google skewed towards recent updates. It’s not a healthy bias I think, but it’s a fine line to tread. Sites need to cater for those who’re online all day, as well as those who only check once a day. I’ve found myself visiting a news site on the afternoon of a big event, only to find no obvious mention of it, as it’s already dropped off the front page. If the local publishers attempt to chase the Google monster, they’ll only exacerbate this trend.


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