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News Robot Incompetence

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I am a fan of Google Finance. There's a lot to like. Real-time stock quotes, nice charts and graphs and a clean design. But when it comes to breaking financial news, Google just doesn't cut it. Many sites use bots to collect and disseminate news, but in the rapidly changing financial world a news bot is all but useless.

Take a look at the snapshot below taken last Thursday from Google Finance's homepage. The image has been tightened up to show the interesting elements. The headline and subordinate stories shouted losses in the stock market, while the real-time numbers and chart showed considerable market gains.

Google Finance

This contradiction was brought to you courtesy of Google's news bots. By the time the headlines came online, the stories were no longer relevant. Of course, the stock market (specially in volatile times) is a rapidly moving target, making it difficult for an even experienced editor to keep up, let alone a soulless bot who can't care less about market timeliness, or which stories may matter more to the readers.

So for now, Google Finance is fine for stock quotes and charts, but for timely news its bots have a long way to go to catch up with the biological machines known as the editorial staff.


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