Aggregators like Google News were today the subject of news – this time pertaining to a 2002 story regarding United Airlines. For those of you who are interested in the nuts and bolts of why this was indexed by Google News, here are the details:
On Saturday, September 6th at 10:36PM Pacific, the Google crawler discovered a new link on the Florida Sun-Sentinel website in a section of the most viewed stories labeled "Popular Stories: Business." The link appeared in that section sometime after Googlebot's last crawl at 10:17PM; because the crawler saw this new link appear, it followed it to an article titled "UAL Files for Bankruptcy."
The only date found in the context of the article indicated that the article was from September 7, 2008.
The article was indexed and then available through Google News search, but was not shown on our headlines pages.
We removed this story from the Google News index as soon as we were notified that it had been linked to in error.
It has been widely reported that many readers were unable to determine the original date of publication of this article, and our crawling was similarly unable to recognize that the article was old.