Monday, January 23, 2006
We're taking Google News out of beta! When we launched the English-language edition in September 2002, we entered untested waters with a grand experiment in news browsing - using computers to organize the world's news in real time and providing a bird's eye view of what's being reported on virtually any topic. By presenting news "clusters" (related articles in a group), we thought it would encourage readers to get a broader perspective by digging deeper into the news -- reading ten articles instead of one, perhaps -- and then gain a better understanding of the issues, which could ultimately benefit society. A bit more than three years later, we offer 22 regional editions in 10 languages, and have a better sense of how people use Google News.
We've certainly gotten a lot of feedback from both readers and editors. For example, readers told us they loved the news clusters but they didn't want press releases on the home page (although they are still useful to have in the search results). A major area we wanted to address was personalization. We offered email alerts, as well as the ability for users to create a personalized page, but many users don't have the time to specify exactly what they want. So today we're adding a way to automatically recommend stories for users with Personalized Search.
Here's how it works: You can sign up for Personalized Search to view and manage your history of news searches and the articles you've read. When you're signed in to your Google Account, you'll receive recommended news stories based on the previous stories you've read. These recommendations will be highlighted just below the top news stories on the page, in a clearly marked section. You can also get a full page of recommended stories by clicking on the section. All of this is done automatically using algorithms. For example, we might recommend news stories to you that many other users have read, especially when you and they have read similar stories in the past. We've also added a section to show you the most popular stories in the Google News edition you are viewing (e.g., U.S.). Now you can see the top stories being published by editors across the web, as well as other stories popular with readers, plus topics that you track or are interested in -- all on one page.
Google News has matured a great deal, and we're proud to see it graduate from its beta status. Much remains to be done, and as always, we have many exciting ideas that we intend to take forward. Meanwhile, as the saying goes, if you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own. Or just keep reading Google News.