Google News Gets Personal, Social Makeover

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-07-01

Google June 30 rolled out several changes to Google News, led by News for You, a headline stream based on users' interests.

Google News is a Web page where the search engine collects news stories from sources all over the world, organizes them and presents them in an orderly fashion. The service launched in 2002 and has been tweaked every year. However, the new changes are the most ever.

News readers can scroll down to the News for You section to set up their news-reading preferences.

Users can rank subjects they are interested in, opting to see stories chunked in sections or in classic list view, and click done to save their changes. Another nifty feature lets users hover over a headline to see more stories on that topic.

Users tend to prefer some news brands over others. To shuffle this order, Google News now lets reader go to Settings at the top of the page and click the News Settings option to choose whether to see more news from The New York Times or less from the Wall Street Journal.

This is the sort of promotion and demotion functionality users have become accustomed to seeing in social networks and social applications that offer user groups with ratings and comments.

Those who choose not to have their news customized can hit Reset personalization to clear all personalization preferences and close the Edit personalization option by clicking done next to the reset control.

Google News boasts several other new features, including links to top stories in the news, such as Hurricane Alex, immigration reform and other hot topics of interest.

These top stories appear as hyperlinked keywords at the top of popular story clusters and in the Top Stories section on the left side of the homepage. Clicking on a topic link or top story entry allows users to add the issue as part of their personalized news page.

The Google News Spotlight section features stories of more lasting interest than breaking news and a local news section highlights local weather and headlines. A region tab over the righ-hand rail lets users target news by language and location

Socially inclined readers can share story clusters they like with friends, family and colleagues via Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz and Google Reader by clicking the drop-down menu marked by an arrow on the top right of each story cluster.

The redesigned Google News homepage is live now in U.S. English, though Google will roll it out to all editions in the coming months.


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