Google News for iOS: Intelligently pre-sorted news?

With the News App for iOS, Google offers a news app for free, which offers interesting news for – pre sorted intelligently.

Artificial intelligence is the driving force behind it. Google plans to find all the news that are available in the world that might interest you. On the one hand, that sounds good, of course, because you’re hopefully getting something interesting proposed, on the other hand it may create two problems:

You read messages in a filter bubble. Similar to Facebook, it can happen that you do not get all the positions to a news message, but only those that you already represent anyway. Secondly, the fact that news may be boring, as I have already experienced with YouTube, for example. The algorithm seems to be designed for people having a short-term memory of two minutes: no matter what you’ve been watching lately, one evening only cat and Monty Python videos maybe, the next evening you will get them as suggestion again. The algorithm is simply designed to provide you with as much of the same content as possible, but does not make a smart connection to other interesting content. YouTube just remembers the areas you have visited, but does not necessarily suggest something new.

This can be even more problematic for news. Ideally, the news should be neutral and help with background information to an event. In reality this is not always the case so much is clear. An algorithm could make things even worse, however, so that you may get the same situation as on YouTube. You give away the opportunity to discover something new and are robbed of surprise.

Introducing the new Google News

The evaluation process may be artificial intelligent, meaning the circumstance how the news are filtered from the countless messages. There is one problem though: Google determines what is important. And if you want to keep the user in line, that’s the optimization and not a balanced and factual selection of the displayed information.

When using an app that pre-sorts your content, you always have to remember who programmed the algorithm behind it. Artificial intelligence is not a value in itself. More interesting is who has the power over it. Try the app and see what happens.

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