Google News’ comments used for Disney story reactions

Via The Disney Blog comes what is the first instance I’ve seen of an actual back-and-forth (at least as much as is possible) relating to a story that’s happening using the new comment feature on Google News.

Last week a study came out from The University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Science relating to language development in toddlers and how it might be impacted by videos such as Disney’s Baby Einstein series. This resulted in a number of headlines in the mainstream press as well as the online world. But now the two parties, the study’s authors and the Disney company. Disney wants the study retracted since it didn’t actually include any looks at the Baby Einstein videos and so it feels its being wrongly labeled as contributing to toddlers who can’t make with the usage that is good of the words.

I’m going to make this point again: Why is this something Google had to think of? Why isn’t the news media either 1) Getting their facts straight in the first place (I know – but I had to say it) or 2) Doing this kind of thing on their own site? “Here’s the story as we’ve reported it. Click here for participant reaction.” Barring that sort of media buy-in, this is very much the sort of thing that could be covered on a corporate blog, where executives could weigh in with a company point of view on a story related to them.

Seeing this comment function in action also makes it seem to me like a very clunky tool. The reactions seem to be tied, in some cases, to a particular version of the story. One of the comments from Disney is labeled as being a response to the Time Magazine story. Good idea, but why so specific? And what does this accomplish that, if the party in question has a blog of their own, wouldn’t be achieved by adding some sort of trackback functionality?

As John Frost at The Disney Blog says, this is now another outlet for corporations and their agencies to monitor, but with the no-spiders rule and other problems with automated tracking it’s not exactly easy to do.

Author: Chris Thilk

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist with over 15 years of experience in online strategy and content marketing. He lives in the Chicago suburbs.