M. Alex Johnson – Journalist at Large

An analog journalist in a digital world

Posts Tagged ‘Google

Human editors matter, or: Pat Buchanan, call your lawyers!

leave a comment »

Google likes to generate a “quote of the day” atop some of its news searches. It doesn’t always work out well.

Because I was doing a story that involved Adolf Hitler, I of course did a news search for “hitler” to see who else might be reporting the story. This is what I got:

Written by Alex

February 17, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Human editors matter

with one comment

Google News picks up a grisly story from Reuters and gets bitten by its computerized presentation:

Here’s the headline:
Body of missing Brooklyn boy found in freezer, trash

Here’s the caption Google News automatically generated, because Reuters includes a picture-of-the-day feature on its story pages:
A host of new surveys don’t paint a pretty picture for many small businesses. Uncertainty about the economy, slow retail sales and high commodity prices have small business owners in the dumps this summer.

There’s no one to blame for this, really. But it does illustrate, tastelessly and uncomfortably, that it will be a long time — perhaps not in my lifetime — before human editors are totally dispensable.

Agree or disagree? Will computers some day be able to completely replace us? Let me know in the comments.

Written by Alex

July 13, 2011 at 10:25 am

Live from Las Vegas, it’s …

with one comment

Having worked in radio years and years ago, I had a great time doing this CES interview on Chad Hartman’s show on WCCO/Minneapolis today. We talked tablets, phones, TV and weird tech. You can download it directly here or listen to the podcast on the station’s site.


Written by Alex

January 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Fractured Android leaves orphans behind

leave a comment »

If tablets are the stars at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, then the headliner is Google, whose Android mobile operating system runs most of the devices getting so much attention this week in Las Vegas.

The iPad is still the king, but Apple isn’t here — as usual. This gives Google’s little green robot command of the spotlight almost by default. Nearly every major computer maker already has an Android tablet or is debuting one (or more) at CES; by the end of the year, Android will have grabbed a third of the tablet market to go along with half the smartphone market, analysts Piper-Jaffray projected this week.

But by mid-year, consumers will have to wade through a half-dozen different Android operating systems on tablets. Those on earlier releases will essentially be stranded — Google orphans left to rely on the cleverness of an already-thriving community of hackers who fill in the holes in Android on their own. Meanwhile, developers must weigh whether it’s worth the resources to bring out yet another version of their applications for yet another version of Android.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alex

January 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Google ending support for much of Google Groups, pushes you to Docs and Sites

leave a comment »

UPDATED 5:05 p.m. ET:

Google confirms. Starting Jan. 13, you’ll no longer be able to upload new content.


Much of what’s good about Google Groups is going away: Welcome messages and files are no more. This, Google says, is so “we can focus on improving the core functionalities of Google Groups — mailing lists and forum discussions.”

Instead, Google says, you should use Google Docs or Google Sites if you want anything other than just another heavily automated message board — “the content will only be available for viewing and only existing files will be downloadable.”

Screenshot after the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alex

October 21, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Posted in Tech

Tagged with ,