Google News adds attribution metatags to content to give ‘credit where credit is due’

November 17th, 2010 by Chris Hogg Leave a reply »

Google News

In an effort to give “credit where credit is due,” Google has announced new metatags to be used in Google News. In a blog post by Eric Weigle, Google says it’s experimenting with tags so news outlets an define whether content is original or comes from a syndication source.

“News publishers and readers both benefit when journalists get proper credit for their work,” Weigle writes. “That can be difficult, with news spreading so quickly and many websites syndicating articles to others. That’s why we’re experimenting with two new metatags for Google News.”

The two tags address two different scenarios, Google says, and both are intended to give publishers and journalists credit for their work. The metatags can be used in the following ways:

1) syndication-source indicates the preferred URL for a syndicated article. If two versions of an article are exactly the same, or only very slightly modified, we’re asking publishers to use syndication-source to point us to the one they would like Google News to use. For example, if Publisher X syndicates stories to Publisher Y, both should put the following metatag on those articles:<meta name="syndication-source" content="http://www.publisherX.com/wire_story_1.html">

2) original-source indicates the URL of the first article to report on a story. We encourage publishers to use this metatag to give credit to the source that broke the story. We recognize that this can sometimes be tough to determine. But the intent of this tag is to reward hard work and journalistic enterprise. For example, to credit the publication that broke a story you could use a metatag like this:<meta name="original-source" content="http://www.example.com/burglary_at_watergate.html">

Google says the code can be implemented to point to the current page URL, or multiple “original-source” metatags on one page in the event multiple sources were used.

“Although these metatags are already in use by our systems, you may not notice their impact right away,” writes Weigle. “We’ll need some time to observe their use “in the wild” before we can make the best use of them. But we’re hopeful that this approach will help determine original authorship, and we encourage you to take advantage of them now.”

- Cross-posted to Future of Media

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