Google News, the popular, automated news service that finally made it out of beta, has rolled out two new features designed to help
readers find the news that interests them.
Users can now sign up for a personalized news aggregator that serves up
headlines designed to match their personal reading tastes. They can also
click on a list of the most popular recent stories in the Google News
edition they are viewing.
The new personalization feature lets users who sign up for Google’s
Personalized Search receive a list of recommended stories linked to the
Google News homepage.
By signing up for Personalized Search, they agree to let Google track and
save their news selections. The site then uses an algorithm to compare their
interests to those of the entire Google News readership and thereby suggests
stories for them to read.
“Users can now receive recommended news stories based on their past news
searches and articles they’ve read,” said Sonya Boralv, a Google
spokesperson, in a statement.
Greg Sterling, an analyst for the Kelsey Group, a market research firm
based in Princeton, N.J., said the new recommendations feature is like the
passive RSS and news feeds tracking what Google has been doing with its Sidebar tool.
“This is another incentive for users to sign in to Google and create an
account,” he added.
Google’s new most-popular stories feature displays articles most favored
by visitors to the site, as opposed to the top stories being published by
editors on different news sites.
That’s nothing new, however. Yahoo News has had a similar feature for
several years. And many news sites offer
lists of the most e-mailed stories.
The added features represent Google’s latest move into personalizing its
news service, which aggregates stories from 4,500 English-speaking news
sources around the world.
The site uses 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.
In March, the company unveiled a series of customization options,
allowing users to rearrange the sections on the page, create keyword-driven
custom sections and even mix-and-match sections from other Google News sites
around the world.