Google News Introduces Location-Specific Coverage
Google News has done a decent job of representing big stories, but when it came to local developments, your best bet was often to visit to some poorly designed and infrequently updated site owned by a nearby TV station. Now that may no longer be the case, as Google News is getting local.
On the main Google News site, beneath the "Top Stories" section, a small blank has been added along with the phrase "View stories near you." Enter your city, state, or zip code, and with any luck, you’ll get a handful of relevant results nestled among the normal spread of Google News.
Andre Rohe and Rohit Ananthakrishna admitted on the Google News Blog, "This feature is still a bit of an experiment for us, which is why today it’s only available in English." Yet we were impressed by what Google turned up for Longmeadow (Massachusetts), Lexington (Kentucky), and L.A.; it seems like things are working well for a wide range of American cities.
Also, in the event that the local news finder isn’t too fine-tuned for wherever you are, Rohe and Ananthakrishna continued, "[W]e hope to launch this in other languages and editions soon."
In the U.S. and elsewhere, if Google can make this feature accurate (and visible) enough, it’ll solve one of the bigger complaints concerning its Google News site. In the process, it may give other news sources reason to worry. Topix, in particular, seems like a target; the site has long been known as a solid provider of local news.