Google news errors

googlenewserror.pngHere’s an image of a section of a Google News page from today. (Click it for a larger version.) In the health section, there were images for three stories that all were linked to the same page, but that page was for none of the stories. The links pointed to an item about a fourth story, one about the contamination of dog food. In this first image, I’ve circled the three relevant items. Note that the stories in the text are about (a) a triple amputee graduating from UCLA, (b) DNA and breast cancer, and (c) contact lens solution recall. Each as an appropriate image associated with it, but the links beneath the images do not match.

googleerror_dogbreast.pngThis second image, a closer view (click to see clearer, full size version), shows one of the mistaken bits. The arrows point to details that may explain why the links below the images were mistaken. Some data were mixed together. I suppose there must be some simple slip in the coding for the display of the news items, that some snippet of code was replicated mistakenly. I imagine that the code underlying Google’s news site is right dang sophisticated, way past my ken, so I wouldn’t have any good ideas about how this sort of thing happened.

As I worked on snagging these images of the mistakes, the page refreshed (it does so every 900 seconds, according to the meta tag in the page head), so I lost one example of the error. Just now, about an hour later, I went back to site and found that only one of the current stories carried the mistake (the one referring to triple amputee, though it was now pushed to the bottom of the stack). The breast cancer item is now at the top of the stack, but it has an appropriate image with an appropriate link associated with it.

Mayhaps the Google folks will find this post and use the comments to explain how such things happen. Teehee….

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