I got an email yesterday from longtime friend Lance Knobel that the excellent Berkeleyside blog has been removed from Google News. I guess this is not a small issue for them, nor is it for Berkeley, which now has exactly two tiny news organizations reporting its news. Berkeleyside is one of them.
And they’re doing a first-rate job. I don’t live in Berkeley any longer, but I still subscribe, and regularly push links to their stories in my feed, because they’re so well-written and interesting.
I’ve also noticed that searching for pieces on Scripting News has all of a sudden become hit-or-miss as well. It used to be that Google adored blogs, and we got special treatment. Now it seems the other way. Interestingly if I post a link to a story here in a Google Group that appears to be more likely to be caught by Google than a story on the main site.
Now of course it’s Google’s right to do as they please with their search engine. I haven’t monetized this site, so I can’t say I’m losing money, I’m not. But had become something I depend on. I’ve even built systems around the assumption that Google will quickly index my stuff. And it could be my fault, maybe there’s something wrong with my sitemaps, or maybe I’m not very well SEO-ized. Or it could be that my blog, for some reason, looks like one of those artificial content mills with billions of pages pointing at each other trying to trick Google into giving them more juice. It’s possible that it looks that way, but I assure you it is hand-written from the Mind of Dave.
But I will say that if this is a permanent thing, and not in my imagination (could be!) there might be an opportunity for a search engine that loves blogs to position relative to Google.