Medical Doctor Comments Appear in Google News

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

Google News began a new feature earlier this month that allows people and organizations mentioned in news articles to post comments about the news they were mentioned in. Google posted a “heads-up” on this new, experimental feature, on their Google News blog page, on August 7th.

I first learned about this new feature in a web developers user forum on WebmasterWorld, a very popular and niche user generated content website, owned by Brett Tabke. There was a significant thread of discussion on the webmaster website whether this latest move by Google News was going to be good or bad for publishers. As the owner of an online publishing web site, I was not quite sure whether this new feature would have any effect in relationship to visits, for a site like Planet Chiropractic.

Danny Sullivan, of Search Engine Land, posted a detailed article (Google News To Newsmakers: Send Us Your Comments) on August 8th, regarding the new Google News feature. Danny is a leader in the industry of search and his article goes into great detail about these new experimental features. He posted a couple of screenshots of Google News articles related to the topic “McDonalds”, and until today those were the only versions of comments that I’ve noticed so far in Google News.

Google News comments - FDA warnings on cold medicines
This afternoon I was scanning the Google News homepage when I noticed a block of articles related to FDA warnings against parents giving cough and cold medicines to toddlers. Below an aggregated article, posted on the web site “Medical News Today,” was a comment by a medical doctor named Joshua M. Sharfstein. Dr. Sharfstein is the Commissioner of Health, in the city of Baltimore, Maryland. He was quoted in one of the news articles.

The Commissioner’s comment suggested that it was encouraging that the Food and Drug Administration was addressing the topic of marketing cough and cold medications for children. In his comments he mentioned that while cough and cold products are marketed aggressively to parents, they have not been shown to be effective and have been linked to serious injuries and even deaths.

Google News single page comments
Now that I’ve been able to see this Google News experiment in action, I can now make a better opinion about it. I was impressed by the comments I read from Baltimore’s Commissioner of Health, and I felt it lent greater credibility to the topic. As a daily reader of Google’s homepage news articles, I like that. On the main news page, it does appear that the comment scrolls a bit outside the normal page layout, but that’s a minor design issue that can be taken care of easily. I really liked the way Google news displays the comment on a single page along with links to related articles above the comment. It’s early to tell, but I suspect this may lead to greater traffic for news articles that receive relevant comments, especially since there is a “link to this comment” link at the bottom of the content.

Google News, the new comment system gets two chiropractic hands up! @ 11:35 pm | Article ID: 1187418933