Google News is getting an interesting feature this week, and by interesting I mean it's downright peculiar. Users of the U.S. version of Google News will now be able to comment on a story, that is assuming they're somehow involved in it. The process is not for everyone, and in fact requires a lengthy verification process of sending off your comment and credentials to a special Google e-mail address, and later verifying your identity via domain name and an e-mail follow-up from Google staff. If you pass the test, your comment will show up alongside the article.
Will this work? Yahoo tried out a somewhat similar feature with forums dedicated to each story, but shut it down late last year when the amount of spam and off-topic conversation became overwhelming. There were plans to bring it back earlier this year, but the feature remains defunct. Google's approach is almost entirely on the other side of the spectrum, keeping comments tied down to experts.
My only questions are who on Google's end will be doing moderation, whether or not they're capable of those editorial decisions, and if they'll be able to handle the onslaught of incoming e-mail. I also question if going to Google first instead of the story's source for things like corrections or comments is really the best way to add context to a story. While Google may be linking to the content, keeping the system too closed might keep the real story from coming out.