Thursday, February 01, 2007

ARHG! Google News

I'm not loving Google News' problems right now. Simply put; Google News is broken. I work with a number of newspapers and magazines who are in Google News. Bigmouthmedia's own newsfeed is in Google News. I can tell you that Google News drives a lot of traffic and without it - you certainly notice!

Outer Court has a screen grab of what Google News looks like when it fails. Right now, though, you could probably just hit the home page and find it down.

Here's a screen grab relating to Google News that you probably haven't seen before, though.

You're looking at a crawl rate chart from Google's Webmaster Console for a significant publisher. The charts show that the kilobytes downloaded per day go up and down. Look at the numeric values though. It's the same value across the board. The Maximum, Minimum and Average download in kilobytes is exactly the same. For the last 90 days, according to Google, exactly 2097151 kb has been downloaded.

This particular quirk has persisted for many weeks now. What's going on? First of all 2097151 is a significant number. Do the binary maths. The most likely explanation is that the graphical chart is correct. For some reason, Google's integer counter for the kb download was capped and this particular newspaper has simply reached that cap.

Nevertheless, it's rare for Google to make this sort of coding mistake. It's unheard of for a google.com site to have this sort of technical problem.

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