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The Media Businesses Google The Internet

Mapping Google News 133

Posted by timothy
from the that-hansel-he's-so-hot-right-now dept.
CousinLarry writes "A neat project called Buzztracker.org has been mining Google News for over a year and keeping track of relationships between geographic locations mentioned in articles. The results are some really cool maps that actually seem to reflect the "buzz" of the day - check out the Vatican clusters from earlier this month, or the global New Year's chatter. You can also dig down into the articles from which the maps were generated."
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Mapping Google News

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  • Re:MetaWeb (Score:5, Insightful)

    by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Monday April 11, 2005 @06:41PM (#12206255) Homepage Journal
    SEMANTIC WEB!

    Thank you Tim (Berners-Lee) Didn't know you were a /. reader. The question remains, while it's very interesting (and cool), what does one do with the aggregated data?
  • by CSMastermind (847625) <freight_train10@hotmail.com> on Monday April 11, 2005 @06:43PM (#12206280)
    Well when you think about it aren't those the exact places you'd expect to be hotspots?
  • That's cool (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Red Moose (31712) on Monday April 11, 2005 @06:44PM (#12206291)
    That is finally some news for nerds. About fucking time.

    What a cool site, and it works very quickly and is not overflowing with advertising crap?

  • BuzzTracker? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Storlek (860226) on Monday April 11, 2005 @06:50PM (#12206354)
    Apparently they didn't Google their own name, or else they would've noticed the name was already in use for a fairly popular music composition program [buzzmachines.com].
  • by alphan (774661) on Monday April 11, 2005 @07:02PM (#12206450) Homepage
    Well when you think about it aren't those the exact places you'd expect to be hotspots?

    It is good that you could expect that. For me, there are a lot of different factors that add to complexity. Neutrality of Google being one, the fact that Google News is in English being another.

  • by terraformer (617565) <tpb@pervici.com> on Monday April 11, 2005 @07:03PM (#12206454) Journal
    That being one level of hierarchy to display complex data. China (Top with .09%) is top dog because all international press refer to china as a whole and fails to reference individual places in china (ie; Guangdong Province) despite the sheer size of the country. Therefore, China is over represented when looking at news. However, in the case of Gaza (the second highest at .08%), the exact opposite occurs where Gaza steals all of the thunder from the larger Palestinian issue (Gaza is one of two territories in question and is not in Palestine, the place where all of the problems in the middle east originates from).

    If, they represented this in hierarchical format, the middle east would dominate by picking up points from children Gaza, West Bank and Palestine (not to mention Iraq). Baghdad is probably a good example here. How much actually happens in areas outside of Baghdad proper but gets labled baghdad anyhow.

  • by doom (14564) <doom@kzsu.stanford.edu> on Monday April 11, 2005 @07:18PM (#12206537) Homepage Journal
    What I like about google news is that it's an incredibly easy way of keeping an eye on what has been called the "pack journalism" problem. Just as an example, trying doing a google news search on "Count Every Vote Act": that's consistently turned up less than 100 hits since it was announced. Is there some reason it's not newsworthy? Similarly, when the Ohio recount thing was going down last year, it took *forever* for it to punch through as a top-level story. Evidentally the pattern is something like a story is dead until the AP Wire runs it, and then a thousand other news "sources" pick it up.

    I've had the thought that it might be cool to implement an anti-news site that would do something like show you links to New York Times stories that have never been referenced by the top page of Google News.

  • How long until... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jacksonj04 (800021) <nick@nickjackson.me> on Monday April 11, 2005 @07:25PM (#12206611) Homepage
    How long until Google invites the creators to join the team for coming up with such a great idea? Or failing that, aquire the rights to the concept and implement it.

    Google have a habit of doing great things with software they get hold of, can't wait to see what they do with this.
  • by jonno317 (807642) on Monday April 11, 2005 @07:38PM (#12206733)
    Well, actually if you look at the bottom of google news you'll notice that it's in 21 languages other than English (counting Canadian English, Australian English, and the like as separate languages...so maybe a few less than that technically). But I'd say that Google is in enough other major languages to not be considered biased (at least as far as languages are concerned). If buzztracker.org is biased toward English, then I would say it's because of their choices and no fault of Google.
  • by alphan (774661) on Monday April 11, 2005 @08:00PM (#12206934) Homepage
    Even if one considers all languages, there are a lot of English news sources that are located in non-English speaking countries. Plus, I can safely bet that English still has the majory of the news pie.
  • Nov 3rd? Dec 26? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mzieg (317686) <mark@zieg.com> on Monday April 11, 2005 @08:13PM (#12207039) Homepage
    I have to question the results a bit. Look at the archive for November 2004 [buzztracker.org], especially around Nov 3rd [buzztracker.org]. Anyone remember any "buzz" about Ohio? Maybe a Florida 2000 reprisal? "Battleground States," anyone? That was a hugely geographic news event, and it doesn't even register on their chart. Likewise, Sumatra barely merits a blip on Dec 26 [buzztracker.org]. I'm not sure I'm buying this.

    What we have here is one computer algorithm aggregating another computer algorithm's assessment of "newsworthy," with no provision for hindsight or fluff-vs-historical weighting. It's a neat idea, and the graphics are pretty slick, but I don't see any real value here.

  • Inaccurate data!!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 11, 2005 @09:41PM (#12207728)
    This map isn't accurate. You're not reporting on the news. You're reporting on what made headlines. There's a big, big difference.

    More people are murdered in Detroit than in than in Baghdad or the surrounding area.

    More Americans are kidnapped in Mexico in 3 days than in Iraq in a months' time.

    Isn't Mexico supposed to be a friendly country?

    Why does the press ONLY focus on Iraq?

    Clinton sent us into Bosnia. In fact, we're still there, and the only improvement was the arrest of Milosevic. Since then, they've had as many troubles as they had before. Why doesn't the press report this?

    The truth is, the press is HEAVILY biased. They all take their lead from the NY Times, and the NY Times is as biased a newspaper as biased can be.
  • Re:Animations (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chuq (8564) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:23PM (#12208385) Homepage Journal
    In fact, after the last election I had a nifty idea to create some sort of animated map of the US showing how political affiliations have geographically shifted over the years (primarily, the North slowly turning blue and the South slowly turning red). Then I started to think about extending that to a generic web app to display and animate various demographic data. Basically, a very dumbed down and animated online GIS.

    This sounds like it would be most easily done with a Worldwind [nasa.gov] Add-on [nasa.gov]!
  • by Random Chaos (831686) on Monday April 11, 2005 @11:37PM (#12208472)
    I understand your point, however I think it is partially based on a false premise: In reguard to Nov 3rd. The site tracks cities, not states.

    After checking Dec 26, 27, 28, and 29th they do have Indonesia, but it doesn't show up until the 28th (and then under Jakarta only). I would guess this is due to them not having Sumatra or Banda Aceh in their keyword search system.

    I also notice that most cities in the US other then Washington and New York seem to almost never show up - could it be that their "selection of articles" is a bit limited (refering to the above's 2nd paragraph)?

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