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Google News Your Way

News junkies who make the daily pilgrimage to the Google News site now have more control over how they see their news with new customization options, officials said Thursday.

The Mountain View, Calif., company added a bevy of new features to its seemingly perpetual beta news site, allowing users to re-arrange the sections on the page, create keyword-driven custom sections and even mix-and-match sections from other Google News sites around the world.

Google's service aggregates stories from 4,500 English-speaking news sources around the world, using an algorithm to rank stories by their relevance and popularity within the general sections of World, Sci/Tech, Entertainment, Business, U.S., World, Sports and Health.

Google News is available in nine languages and also features news tailored to 22 regions around the world, in that region's language.

Readers can also modify the news stories within the sections by reducing or adding the number of headlines per section or displaying headlines only, removing the first sentence and image. Users can also modify the number of stories appearing on the front page by clicking on the "Show more stories" or "Show fewer stories" links found at the bottom of each section, adding or subtracting one story at a time.

It wouldn't be a Google service if search wasn't somewhere in the new offering. Users can create a section based on the keyword terms they would use in a search query. This custom section allows users to determine the number of stories to display, as well as select where on the page they would like it placed.

In addition to region-specific standard news sections, users can add the eight standard sections found in other regions. So, a French-reading Google News user can add the German business section from that region.

Users can create up to 20 sections, using any combination of standard and custom sections. Google officials also included the option to share the custom view with others, or migrate it to another computer. Each custom Google News page is saved as a unique URL.

The customization information for each unique news page is saved in a cookie that's stored in the computer, so cookies need to be enabled in order for the service to work. Also, JavaScript must be enabled and users must use the minimum versions of the following Web browsers: Internet Explorer 6.0, Netscape 7.1, Mozilla 1.4, Firefox .8, Opera 7.54 or Safari 1.2.2.