Google News Adds Powerful Customization Feature

    March 10, 2005

Google News (amazingly still called a beta!) has added a very powerful customization feature today.

Others have covered the addition, but I’m going to tell you how to really take advantage of it.

When you go to the Google News page you see that there are sections of news-like World, Business, Sports. You are now able to not only choose and rearrange the various sections of “standard” news, but you can also add your own “custom” news sections as well. And, here’s the best part you you haven’t been told-you can use all the various operators like OR’s, excludes, “allintitles” and synonyms to truly define your section! I’ll show you how to build these advanced queries with the Advanced News Search page and import them to a new custom news section.

On the news page you’ll now see the “Edit Customized Page” in a gray box at the top right are of the page. Click this to get the following customization page:

You’ll see the sections which you can rearrange with the cursor, and options to create a standard section and a custom section. Standard sections are pre-packaged by Google and are similar to what you see on the standard new page. No biggie. But the custom sections are fantastic! You can create a custom news section that will include articles that match your keyword criteria, and then place this section anywhere on the news page you like.

Click in the “Create Custom Section” to get started. You’ll see a field to enter your keywords and specify the number of articles you wish to have in the section. If you click on the “Advanced” link you’ll be able to select your language, the section you want to draw stories from, and a label with which to name the section. Throw in a keyword, save the section and see how it works.

But Wait, there’s more!

It seems as if that’s all the “Advanced” options you’re going to get, right? After all, you did click on “Advanced.” But not so. Not by a long shot. The keywords field will accept all the advanced operators available in the Advanced News Search!! You could go and memorize all these operators, but that’s not necessary. Here’s how you do it the easy way: Click on the Advanced News Search, fill out the form and test the results until you get it just the way you want. Here’s an example: Let’s say you want articles with “Social Security” and “tax”in the article title (only, not the body); plus you don’t want to hear from Al Gore. Here is how you’d fill out the page:

Click Picture to View Larger

After searching, you then copy to your clipboard the search criteria Google inserted in the News Search field. In the example we are using, it is:

&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp allintitle: tax “social security” -Gore

Then, create a new Custom Section, pasting the contents of your clipboard into the keyword field. Name the label for the category and save it. Viola! You’ve just created a very custom news section.

Sharing Your News Page with Others

If you look down at the bottom of the news page you will see the link “Share your customized news with a friend.” Clicking on this link will provide you with a unique URL that you can copy and email to anyone else so that they can see the same news setup you do!

Mark Fleming is the founder of a new blog called Google Tutor & Advisor. Google Tutor & Advisor offers in-depth Tips, Techniques and Advice for Google Users.

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