Google Responds To Claims Of Garbage AI Content In Google News

Danny Sullivan, the Google Search Liaison, responded to the article from 404 Media titled Google News Is Boosting Garbage AI-Generated Articles. In short, Sullivan said that the way they filtered Google News was by date and not relevancy (relevancy filtering is the default) and that Google can always do better.

First go read the article, note, there is a subscription paywall to read it.

Then here is Danny Sullivan’s response, which he posted on X, Mastodon and on Bluesky:

Let me summarize before I quote:

(1) Google News is not boosting AI content

(2) The examples in the article show that the author used filters and special searches to showcase the AI content above the default settings in Google News.

(3) He said focus on quality, it is not about how it is produced but if the content is quality or not.

(4) Google is not perfect, Google will do better.

(5) Why 404 Media doesn’t rank is because it is a new site and Google News needs time to trust it but Google will look for ways to improve this process for new news sites entering the market (we’ve been asking for this for years).

(6) 404 Media uses a paywall or subscription process for its content and thus should use the paywalled structured data so Google can understand the content and rank it.

Now here is what Danny Sullivan posted:

Jason, I’d like to clarify Google News is not somehow “boosting” AI content to the top of search results. This isn’t the case. I also appreciate the frustration of a new publication like yours wanting to quickly appear in Google News. I do. It’s something I hope we’ll improve on. Here’s more on both.

Google News, like Google Search, indexes content from across the web. However, appearing in our index isn’t a guarantee content will rank well. In today’s story, the screenshots of AI content supposedly being boosted involve overriding our default ranking to manually force it higher in the results.

It’s possible to use the News tab on Google Search to show news-related content sorted by date, as opposed to by relevance, as done with the screenshots. Doing this is expressly asking our systems to ignore the regular relevance ranking they do and simply show the latest content in descending order.

As for AI content, as we’ve said before, our focus is on quality of content, not production. This shouldn’t be misinterpreted as if we’ve granted a free pass to churning out lots of low quality content. It isn’t & doing so is against our policies. More here.

No automated systems are perfect, and this isn’t to say that our default ranking systems would never show sub-par content. We are also always working to improve them to ensure that quality, original journalism is successful…

As for your content appearing in Google News, it can take time for our systems to recognize & surface material from new pubs. The systems tend to want to see some period of news publishing over time. That said, we’ll look to see if we can find ways to improve the process generally to do a better job.

I’d also encourage your publication (or any pub) that has paywall or gated content to provide our access to our crawler, so we can fully understand the work your doing. This can be done in a way that it does not allow readers to bypass registration. More here.

Forum discussion at X, Mastodon and on Bluesky.

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