This week Search Engine Roundtable highlighted a Google News Help thread in which Google confirmed that it is now able to recrawl articles that have been updated within a “short period of time” of the original publishing.
Google employee “Inbal” later provided a more specific time window, indicating “the rate at which we recrawl may vary, but we try to go back and check for changes in article content within the first 12 hours after we first find it.”
This is encouraging news for publishers as previously once an article was indexed in Google News no changes or updates to it would be registered. So if an article was accidentally published with a typo in the headline and then corrected, Google News would still display the erroneous headline.
More importantly, in breaking news situations articles are often initially published with limited information and then later updated with further details. Previously the only way to get the more comprehensive version into Google News was to republish the article on a new URL, which was not the best experience for either on-site or search engine users.
I went looking for an updated story in Google News today and was able to find an example. When I first checked this updated CNN.com article on the Lockerbie bomber:
Google News was still displaying the original first sentence (which had been changed in the update):
However within a short period of time the Google News snippet had been updated to include the new first sentence: