Google News is adding a new feature that will allow people involved in news stories to add their comments to the Web page.
Google plans this week began adding a mechanism that allows people or organizations who are part of a story "to enhance the news experience for readers," Google software engineers Dan Meredith and Andy Golding noted in a blog post.
"Our long-term vision is that any participant will be able to send in their comments, and we'll show them next to the articles about the story," the blog post stated. "Comments will be published in full, without any edits, but marked as 'comments' so readers know it's the individual's perspective, rather than part of a journalist's report."
Google will work with authors individually to confirm their identity by contacting the organization affiliated with the author, contacting local officials or collaborating with journalists, according to the company.
In one early example, comments were added to a Google News story by Malcolm John, a physician who specializes in infectious diseases at the University of California, San Francisco. He commented on news that Pfizer Inc. had received FDA clearance for a new drug to treat HIV, although he was not explicitly mentioned in the story about the drug's approval.
Google is accepting comments only in the U.S. initially, but it may expand the feature to other editions of Google News, according to the blog post.
Tony Hung, who writes about Web 2.0 issues, blogged that the new feature is almost like bringing a bloglike aspect to news "without having the trouble to set up a blog or having a place to host it to have your opinion noticed." Hung added that the new comments feature "allows people in the story to relate their story, and then distribute it for public consumption and conversation."