The story, as it unfolded

Posted by Nandini Seshadri, Software Engineer

When you visit Google News, you see the day’s top news stories organized by section. You can then click through to any number of sources to read the news from different perspectives. Yet by their succinct nature, individual articles can only give partial snapshots of news stories that often develop over time, whether it’s a couple of hours, days, or even weeks.

Last week, we introduced a new “Timeline of articles” feature that provides a chronological view of the chain of events that make up a story. To view the timeline for a story, click the “all news articles” link under any cluster of articles on Google News:

This will take you to a story page with relevant articles as well as a timeline on the right of page:

The story on the pirate attack of a U.S. ship in Somalia this week provides a good example of when the timeline can be helpful. The graph shows the evolution of the story from the pirate takeover of the ship on April 10th to the release of the ship’s captain on the 12th. The timeline also shows the evolution of media attention and coverage of the story, with a peak of nearly 3000 indexed articles written when the standoff ended and the captain was freed.

The timeline of articles is one of several features we’re bringing to Google News in the coming months. Stay tuned for these updates as they come, and until then, see how actual news stories unfold using the timeline.

Local news in more places

Posted by Hicham Alaoui, Associate Product Marketing Manager

Last year we announced the launch of local news in the U.S., and this week we launched this feature of Google News to users in the UK, India, and Canada.

Local news sections let you keep track of current events in your area. We analyze every word in every story to understand what location the news is about and where the source is located. The top stories for a given area will be at the top of your results, and our rankings also take into account a publication’s location to promote local sources for each story.

To get started, look for the local section on your front page and enter your city, state, or postal code in the local search bar, shown here:

If you don’t see this section, you can also set up your local news by clicking “Personalize this page” on the top right of the page. On the menu that comes up, click “Add a local section”:

Once you’ve clicked the link, you’ll see a place to enter a postal code or city. Use the drop-down menu to choose the number of stories you’d like to see. To finish, click “Add Section” and you’ll see this local section on your personalized Google News page.

As always, we’re working to improve our product, and we appreciate your feedback.

New Insights for your Search

Posted by Hicham Alaoui, Associate Product Marketing Manager

Some of you may already be familiar with Google Insights for Search, which launched last August.

Much like Google Trends, you can use Insights for Search to analyze search volume patterns over time, as well as related queries and rising searches. You can also compare search trends across multiple search terms, categories, geographic regions, or specific time ranges. Insights for Search can help you can analyze everything from interest levels in rival soccer teams to the relative popularity of politicians.

Today the Insights for Search team launched additional features that allow you to see what the world is searching for beyond Google Web Search, by adding new data sources including Google News, Image Search, and Product Search. The new Insights for Search lets you break down search data in several ways. For starters, you can take a look at the rising News searches over the past 7, 30, or 90 days.

You can also view the popularity of a given query across different geographies, from country-level down to individual metropolitan areas. For journalists and newspapers, this feature could be a useful tool to gauge interest levels in different subjects among a reader base.

For instance, with March Madness in full swing, I was curious to see if interest in basketball runs equally high throughout the U.S. I tried a search for “NCAA” queries on Google News over the past 7 days, and found that interest was predictably high across much of the U.S. yet markedly higher in Kentucky, Iowa, and Kansas, as you can see on the map below:

Of course, Insights for Search can’t quite explain these search asymmetries, but they’re interesting to note nonetheless!

To learn more about this new release of Insights for Search, head over to the Inside Adwords blog, or start exploring right away on the Google Insights for Search homepage.