Google has done a lot in the past to make Google News more personalized. With the flow of information not slowing down in the slightest, personalized news consumption vehicles are becoming more important to readers.
People want the news that matters most to them, while at the same time not missing anything important. These days, this is no easy feat. Social media and blogs have entirely changed the face of news, and there’s simply way more information of interest to readers than there is time enough to read.
Google continues to try and tackle this problem, or at least ease it, with a new set of updates for the Google News user interface. They’re now showing logged-in users stories based on articles they’ve clicked on in the past (in the U.S. only so far).
These articles come in the “News for You” section, and pulls from stories based on your news-related web history. “For example, if you click on a lot of articles about baseball, we’ll make sure that you get a chance to see breaking baseball stories,” explains Google News sfotware engineer Lucian Cionca. “We found in testing that more users clicked on more stories when we added this automatic personalization, sending more traffic to publishers.”
Of course not everyone wants to be served news based on their web history. It can be turned off. Simply click the link that says “Standard U.S. Edition” at the bottom of Google News.
“This will not delete any of your News settings or Web History,” notes Cionca. “It will switch you to an unpersonalized version of Google News for the duration of your current session.”
You can always delete your web history or log out of your Google account too.
Google has also added “Recommended Sections” in the side colummn that suggests topics that you can add to your custom sections. This seems to just be encouaging users to use the custom sections feature more.
Late last year, Google added a new News Follow feature, that lets you easily follow topics as you search in Google News. The site got a big redesign last summer, with more emphasis on personalization.
“There’s an old saying that all news is local,” said Google’s Kevin Stolt. “But all news is personal too—we connect with it in different ways depending on our interests, where we live, what we do and a lot of other factors.”
Google News is competing more and more with Facebook and Twitter these days, as the first place people go to find news. Twitter has essentially become a news reader (in Google Reader-like fashion) for a lot of people, and Facebook is placing more emphasis on news itself.
Google is going to have to continue to deliver on the personalization aspect to stay fresh to people who seek this kind of curation.