paidContent.org - Google Tests Wikipedia Links With News?But What About Credibility Issues?
Tuesday, June 9, 2009; 7:07 PM
The evolution of Google News (and its impact on the news industry overall) continues. The company is experimenting with attaching Wikipedia links to certain stories?essentially giving those entries the stamp of approval for readers searching for more info on the article's subject. And it's up for debate as to whether that's a positive or negative thing for readers.
Search expert Michael Gray spotted the Wikipedia links (one of which is pictured) on Google (NSDQ: GOOG) News; he called it an "incredibly horrible" idea. Many in the search community have been openly critical about the way that Wikipedia entries often dominate the top search results; Google's stance is that the entries' content, keywords and repeat traffic are what give them high rankings (quite similar to the response it recently gave media companies that were complaining about rankings, too). But since Wikipedia entries are crowd-sourced, and constantly changing, it raises the question of how accurate the info they contain will be once a reader clicks through. (There's also the issue of whether readers will click a Wikipedia link as opposed to reading the story?which means less traffic for the original news source).
But Nieman Journalism Lab writer Zachary Seward views the links in a much more favorable light?arguing that it serves as a small, but "potentially crucial" moment in the evolution of news presentation. Using the Wikipedia entry for Air France Flight 447 as an example, Seward notes that "there is no single page on the Internet with a more thorough, helpful, or informative synopsis of the crash."