Google News redesign – Notes from NiemenLabs

NiemenLab covers the recent tweaks to Google News’s UI and personalisation  features with the underlying rationale for those changes, as explained by Andre Rohe, the lead engineer behind the product.

I’ve summarised the points below:

  • New design meant to strike balance between balance and serendipity
    • Top Stories
    • Customised stories (visit the site and scroll down to see how they manage this personalisation process)
    • Locally relevant stories
    • Spotlight items
    • Most shared
    • Other content
  • The new “news” buzzwords from Google: 

…many of the new tweaks are aimed at writing into the service a happy medium within the polar aspects of news consumption: something between total personalization and total universality; between breadth and depth; between pre-existing interests and discovery; between want to know and need to know; between expectation and serendipity.

  • UI Change
    • Top Story now is ‘expanded’ ie visually contextualised with links and multmedia offerings
    • Expanded view for “Top Story” emphasizes on the diversity of coverage
    • Relevant Wikipedia links are also now included – Google thinks Wikipedia can sometimes offer more context/background to a story
  • Personalisation
    • Explicit – Users tell Google what they want
    • Implicit – Google uses search behaviour and user’s behaviour from other Google products to display a “News for You” section
    • Investigate ways to combine explicit & implicit – Ie. When Google surfaces a story that the user had implicit interest in, it also allows the opportunity for the user to convert it into an “explicit” interest
  • Mobile
    • “News Near You” – From last year, where Google uses geo-location data to provide you a customised news feed
    • This year, released a Google News version for low end phones.

You can visit Google News here.

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