Thursday, September 23, 2004

Cat Stevens confuses Google News, too

Cat Stevens was denied entry into the United States because the government's "watch list" indicates he's given money to terrorist-connected organizations. While neither confirming nor denying that I listened to his music in the 70s, and while certainly not admitting that I attended a concert by Cat (at Cobo Hall, a most intimate venue for a folk/rock singer) ... I doubt he's the kind of person who'd knowingly fund terrorists.

The global news media leapt on the story, and Google News didn't know what to make of it. Its algorithm chose Cat's rebuff as the lead story this morning -- more important than bombings and beheadings.

Google News was also confused by the fact that most reports listed the former pop star as both Cat Stevens and the Muslim name he adopted, Yusuf Islam. Google's "In the News" segment, which tries to call out the names of people in the news, lists both names -- and offers a different hit list depending on which one you pick.

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