In March I wrote an article talking about how time-sensitive content doesn’t work on StumbleUpon and how it was a huge drawback of using the service. Today I learned that Google is creating a new META tag that will help similar problems.
When I wrote the previous article, I took a random sampling and got pages from Feb 25th, 2007, Feb 15th, 2007, and Nov 10, 2003, among other more recent articles. Which make using StumbleUpon for news items rather frustrating and limits the service in terms of timely commentary and opinion and largely restricts it to informational content or pictures and videos. The new Google META tag will change this.
Google is coming out with a new tag called “unavailable_after” which will allow people to tell Google when a particular page will no longer be available for crawling. For instance, if you have a special offer on your site that expires on a particular date, you might want to use the unavailable_after tag to let Google know when to stop indexing it. Or perhaps you write articles that are free for a particular amount of time, but then get moved to a paid-subscription area of your site. Unavailable_after is the tag for you! Pretty neat stuff!
In essence, the tag comes in handy when trying to rectify exactly the problems outlined above. If StumbleUpon can take a page out of Google’s book and implement something similar, it can increase the service’s usefulness by a large degree and especially for people that use the site daily looking for interesting and important news items specifically for that day. At the same time, this has me wondering if at all Google will be implementing this feature in their failed version of StumbleUpon.