Google News now More Customizable

After many months of testing, Google News redesigned the homepage and made it more customizable. One of the most important changes is that each group of related news has a topic (“Mobile industry”, “Toyota”, “Tropical storm Alex”) and you can easily subscribe to the topic.

Google News has a new section called “News for you” whose goal is to show news about your interests. You can add custom news topics, select how often you read news about each topic and choose if you want to see the news grouped in sections or as an uninterrupted stream.

If you like some news site or dislike news sources that provide biased or irrelevant news, you can now personalize Google News and list your preferences. Click on “Settings” at the top of the page, select “News settings” and start typing the sites you’d like to see more often or less often in Google News.

“Sources you promote or demote will be ranked differently for you (but not for anyone else) in your Google News search results and in the stories that you browse on the News homepage and other sections. Please keep in mind that demoted sources may not entirely disappear for you in Google News, and promoted sources may not appear in all of the stories you see,” mentions Google.

Each news cluster has a small menu that lets you share stories on social sites (Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz, Google Reader) or by email.

Google News also added keyboard shortcuts that are available in other Google applications like Gmail and Google Reader: j or n (next story), k or p (previous story), / (search), s (star), . or f (share), Enter (open the headline article for the current story). Unfortunately, keyboard shortcuts are an afterthought, so you’ll find many flaws: after selecting the “Email” option, you need to use your mouse to click on the “To” field; after opening the main article of a story and going back to Google News, the story is no longer selected.

“The redesigned Google News homepage is rolling out today in the English-language edition in the U.S., and we plan to expand it to all editions in the coming months. We’re making the ability to choose which sources you’ll see more or less often available in all English-language editions worldwide and plan to expand it soon,” explains Google.

Google has a special page that provides more information about the new features and another page that shows you where are the old features and which features are new.

Google News is now more customizable and has a lot of features that should appeal to Google Reader users. You can’t subscribe to news sites, but you can subscribe to topics and list your favorite news sites. Google News lets you star and share each story, navigate using keyboard shortcuts and read news recommended for you. Google News has suddenly morphed from a news aggregator into a news reader, from a website to a web application.

{ Thanks, Sterling. }

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