To get my news, I often scan Google News, which aggregates articles from around the world based on what the "robot" has determined is trending. It's all about what's trending. It generally misses breaking news and totally ignores important commentary, like my column. Instead, it seems to prefer going to dead links—by which I mean the Wall Street Journal, which requires a subscription to read.
Today is a case in point. There was a breaking news story out of CES about the Dish Network making a bid to buy Clearwire. But instead of linking to any of the related stories by free and readable websites, Google decides that the top story should come from the Wall Street Journal.
In the past, Google had some sort of deal that allowed users to at least read the lead paragraph, or even the whole article, before being blocked by the paywall. Unless you know a bypass trick (discussed below), this no longer applies. Now you run into the paywall and you are done. I suppose actual subscribers get past this but I wonder how the Google bots get by it to find the story in the first place. Is Google paying? I doubt it. So there must be some sort of backdoor for the Google bots, right?