Already unique in the way it aggregates news stories from multiple sources and offers them in customizable RSS and Atom feeds, Google News took another bold step in the way it presents the news with the announcement that story participants will be able to comment on stories about them in the near future.
As the Natural Search Blog points out, the most interesting people to hear from in stories — publicly-owned, major companies — will likely not take up the opportunity to use this new feature. Caution is the better part of PR for most major companies, and the hurdles to drafting an accepted public statement may well make the story well over and done with before any comment is ever posted.
While as of today (almost a week after the announcement) a visit to the Google News homepage doesn’t show any stories tagged with the new feature, I think the move is very forward-thinking on Google’s part and should disintegrate the producer/consumer, story/subject lines that as a whole are under attack by Web 2.0. Now it’s just a matter of seeing exactly who’ll comment using the new system.