Google News inventor returns to Google after four-year hiatus

Key Points
  • Krishna Bharat, who invented Google News, returned to the company in July.
  • He will work on Search and News.
  • Bharat worked at the company for 15 years before leaving four years ago.
Pedestrians walk past Google headquarters in New York.
Jeenah Moon | Reuters

Krishna Bharat, the inventor of Google News, has returned to the company after four years to work on Search and News, Google has confirmed.

His return comes at a time when lawmakers and politicians scrutinize the company's handling of disinformation and content including news rankings. It also comes two years after Bharat publicly criticized Google's news vetting process after it surfaced threads from 4Chan identifying the wrong person as the Las Vegas shooter, calling the product "shameful and irresponsible."

The former Google veteran worked at the company for 15 years, between 1999 and 2015, and led a team that built Google News in the aftermath of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"At Google we realized that our ability to display links to the freshest and most relevant news was limited by a fundamental problem: fresh news lacked hyperlinks," he wrote in a blog post in 2011 after Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, was killed. "I realized that if Google could compute how many news sources were covering the underlying story at a given point in time, we could then estimate how important the story was."

Bharat's colleague, former Google search leader Amit Singhal, told Poynter in a 2011 interview, "When September 11th happened, we as Google were failing our users. Our users were searching for 'New York Twin Towers,' and our results had nothing relevant, nothing related to the sad events of the day. My friend Krishna and I were attending a conference at the time, and Krishna started thinking about the problem, saying, 'If we could crawl news quickly, and we can provide multiple points of view about the same story to our users, wouldn't it be amazing?' That was the birth of Google News."

While at Google, Bharat worked as a distinguished research scientist on web search and information extraction. He was also founder and first director of Google's R&D branch in Bangalore.

He left the search giant in 2015 to become a founding advisor for a machine learning software company called Laserlike. Apple reportedly acquired Laserlike earlier this year.

Bharat started his second stint at Google in July as a distinguished research scientist, again.

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