Google News blunder highlights flaws in aggregation system

Google’s latest adventure shows us human beings how sometimes technology can be fooled all too easily. It also goes some way to showing that our dependence on technology can be sometimes fraught with trouble.

Some days ago, 15-year old Tom Vandetta, a self-made fanboy, submitted a fake press release via a free newswire service. Despite being obviously made up, it was almost immediately picked up and turned into a newsworthy article. Vandetta even used the name of an existing Google Technology spokesperson.

In doing this, Vandetta highlighted not only a shortcoming of Google news (which also picked up the technology, placing it on the news release page as well as its own employee pages), but also the fact that technology is far from flawless.

Furthermore, it is ironic that even though i-newswire - where it was originally placed - has removed the news release, it is still present on Google cache

Google employees apparently work overtime to ensure spam bots do not exploit that "vulnerability", turning Google News into a field of Viagra-selling agents.

But this does not mean that Google News, or indeed any news aggregator, will lose their credibility. I personally consider them less flawed than other, human-based news portals, such as Digg or Rojo; as proven in the past, these can also be abused.If your aggregators are human beings rather than automated spiders, you can expect even more mistakes.