Google’s “experiment” in using Wikipedia as a news source on Google News is over, at least in the U.S. and Canada. The experiment was obviously a success, because Google has confirmed for us that the idea has been expanded. Says Google spokesperson Gabriel Stricker:
“As with many features on Google News, these links were initially launched as an experiment. Now they’ve been rolled out to all English language editions of Google News.”
As I mentioned just a couple weeks ago in writing about the Wikipedia link test, it’s hard to argue that Wikipedia pages don’t offer valuable background and context on many current events. At the same time, though, it can be hard to understand how and when Google chooses to include a Wikipedia link on Google News, and sometimes easy to question when they do.
Consider, for example, these two stories on Google News this morning:
The top cluster doesn’t include a Wikipedia link, despite the presence of a tremendously detailed Wikipedia entry about the Voting Rights Act. The lower cluster includes a link to a Philip Marloff Wikipedia entry that comes with a warning: “The neutrality of this article is disputed.” (The Voting Rights Act entry only calls for additional references.)
Google, of course, won’t say how and when it determines that a Wikipedia link is appropriate for inclusion on Google News. “An algorithm determines when Wikipedia topic pages are relevant to Google News clusters,” Stricker says.