Google News Algorithms Get It Wrong

Pamela Anderson image mistakenly being associated to Northern Territory council mergers on Google News AustraliaGoogle News is a great service, probably the single best feature of Google News is that it aggregates news stories from numerous sources into one place and then condenses them, so as a user you don’t need to be bothered by or read the same story more than once. As with everything else Google related, its driven by clever algorithms in how it decides what to collapse/consolidate, the snippets to show and images to associate with a given topic or news item.

When viewing the Australian Google News page today, I stumbed across something that I thought was quite funny. In a moment of algorithms acting badly, they had managed to associate an image of Pamela Anderson against a collapsed set of news items related to regional council mergers in the Northern Territory. Clicking on the Pamela Anderson photo took you to the appropriate story, so that part of the system was behaving correctly – just that she was being associated to Northern Territory council mergers wasn’t!