Google News has switched to a default one-column view and made several other user experience perks that users may love or hate.
Google is upgrading its nearly 10-year-old Google News service
with some new aesthetics and tools to improve the user experience.
Launched in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks
on the United States,
Google News remains a popular news aggregation service at a time when users are
increasingly turning to Twitter and TechMeme. These sources simply update
Google has switched
the default view to the "One Column" view, as Google merged
List View into Top Stories. Users may, however, switch back to "Two Column"
view, which resembles classic Google News, by clicking a tab at the bottom of the
Top Stories cluster.
Google is also collapsing each story cluster--those
chunks of links regarding related topics--to one headline. Users may
click around the headline to propagate the cluster for their viewing
Some of these expanded stories may get tabbed with labels,
such as an "opinion" piece or an "in-depth" article. It's
unclear how Google is judging these. Google is likely looking for certain words
that signal an opinion and gauging story length to grok when something is an
Also, within each expanded story cluster, Google will
offer a sliding bar of videos and photos, links to related sections and
Google has also expanded the Top Stories section to six
or more stories from three. While the first three stories remain
unpersonalized, the rest may be personalized based on a user's interests.
Users can choose the "Standard Edition" if they
don't want the personalized content, or customize personalized content to
receive tech news or entertainment.
Search Engine Land noted
Google is giving readers the option
to filter out blogs and press releases from their Google News content.
The changes will no doubt be welcome by some but reviled by many
others. Google News users have proven incredibly resistant to changes
the search engine makes to its news aggregation service. Last summer's
quite a loud outcry among Google News fans, mostly negative.
The Google News desktop features come days after Google upgraded
its Google News for mobile application to localize the news for users
based on their cities and surrounding areas.
This "News near you" feature is available in
U.S. English on Apple's iPhone and Google Android handsets.