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Need Help? Contact our Support Team!
Friday, April 4, 2008 9:51 AM
Posted by Greta Ghizzo, News Support Team

Last week we launched a new form that will make it easier for users around the world to report an issue with Google News. With the Report an Issue page you’ll be able to send us a quick note to inform us about the problem you’re having with your edition of Google News.

Simply browse the page and look for the specific issue you’d like to report. Then click on the “View Details & Report” and enter the information required. In most cases, you won’t be asked to enter any personal information. Say for instance that you’d like to report a mismatched image in Google News. All you need to do is enter the title of the article associated to that image and the link to our results using our “site:” operator and then click on the “Report it” button. This will ensure that someone on our team will look into the issue and take appropriate actions.

Along with this form we launched an informational page on some of the channels currently available to contact our support team. Keep contacting our team with your suggestions on how we can improve Google News.
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Psst...secrets of Google News exposed!
Wednesday, April 2, 2008 2:43 PM
Posted by Andy Golding, Software Engineer

Often publishers ask us why Google News didn't include one of their articles, or skipped the image associated with an article. In the search for answers, we've noticed that there's a lot of confusion about how we include and rank articles. We'd like to share some of the facts, and debunk the myths.

We've enumerated some of truths and myths below, and invite you to visit the Truths & Myths post on the support group for more extensive followup discussion about your experiences with Google News. User Guides Marcela and Abe will be reading and responding to posts over the next few days. We hope that this post and the corresponding support group thread will help many of you improve your content coverage in Google News.

So without further delay, on to truths and myths:

Having an image next to your article improves your rankingMYTH
While having a good image with your article does improve your chance to get your picture shown, it has no impact on the ranking of the article itself. There are some tips in our help center designed to help us include more of your images in Google News. We encourage you to check those out if you have had problems getting images included in the past.

Updating an article after posting it will create problems with Google News TRUE
Currently, the Google News crawler only visits each article URL once. If you make updates to the article after we've crawled it, they won't be reflected on our site. We hope that soon we'll have the ability to re-crawl your articles to make sure we have the latest version displayed on our site, but for now this is not the case.

Timing the publication of your article improves your article ranking MYTH
Google News is constantly looking for the most recent developments in a story. Making sure we get the latest, breaking news articles is very important. However, whether you publish before, after, or in the midst of when other publishers post articles won't affect your article ranking. Our algorithms take a number of factors into account when choosing the best articles in a cluster. Simply publishing the same story after another publisher won't help. Additionally, our system is set up to detect duplicate content and promote the original source of a story. If we detect that a source is constantly rewriting stories in order to game the system, we will flag the source in our system.

Articles that are just images or video won't be included TRUE
While we will include articles that contain multimedia content, if our crawler cannot find accompanying text content, it won't include the article. The bottom line here is that our crawler is looking for text articles, so if some of your content isn't text-based, it won't be included in Google News. In the meantime, we're working to find ways to add more multimedia content such as our recent integration with video news from YouTube.

There's no way to see why my articles weren't included in Google News MYTH
As you've seen above, there are a number of reasons that your articles may not be included in Google News. To help you analyze your coverage, we have Webmaster Tools for news. If your site is currently included in Google News, you can create an account that will show you errors on specific articles.

Publishing a sitemap helps my rankings MYTH
Creating a sitemap for your news articles helps us find your content; if we can't find your content, we can't rank it. Creating a sitemap does not affect your article rankings; but there are still several reasons that creating a sitemap is a good idea. First, sitemaps give you greater control over which of your articles appear on Google News; they tell us specifically which articles to crawl. Second, sitemaps allow you to specify meta-information about individual articles, such as their publication date, or keywords that help inform which section of Google News the articles should appear in.

Redesigning my site may affect my coverage in Google NewsTRUE
Our crawler has been carefully tuned to scour the web for news content. If you drastically change the structure of your site or your page layout, the crawler may have trouble navigating the new design. In such cases, the Support team may need to update the crawler so that it can find your new content. When in doubt, check out the section in our publisher help center about changes to your site or contact the Support team.

If I put AdSense on my site, my article rankings will improveMYTH
Using AdSense doesn't have any impact upon our ability to crawl or rank your articles. We try to stay as objective as possible, and giving sites with our ads product a boost, well, that wouldn't be very objective!

We hope this information has been eye-opening, and encourage you to let us know what else you've heard on our Truth & Myths thread.
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Up to the minute news with Comments
Friday, March 21, 2008 2:40 PM
Posted by Cliff, Ted and Namita, the Comments Team

In the several months since the launch of Comments, we've made some improvements that we wanted to let you know about. For those of you who aren't familiar, the Comments feature allows people mentioned in a story to comment on the articles in question. We think it's a great way to expose even more perspectives to you, the readers of Google News.

First, we've added a link on the Google News homepage that showcases all of the comments that are currently included in Google News.
By clicking on this link, you can review all of the expert comments. It's a great way to catch up on discussion around current news stories.

Also, to make it easier for commentors to submit comments, we've created a contact form to expedite this process. Currently, the ability to comment is only open to people who have been mentioned in a story or are related to an organization mentioned in a story. This form will make it easier for us to gather the information we need from them to get their comments into Google News as quickly as possible. For more information about the Comments feature, visit our help center pages. And to provide feedback on this, or any other part of Google News, visit our feature suggestions page.
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Would you like help with that?
Friday, March 14, 2008 10:34 AM
Posted by Inbal Drukker, News Support Team

The Google News Support team works with news publishers and with people who use Google News. We're proud to be the group that can address your concerns and questions, and help get your feedback implemented into the product. We're constantly working to improve how we support you, which is why I'm excited to announce our new Help Center. We've made many changes to it, both to share information and to gather your feedback and suggestions. Here are some of the major updates:
Scannable topics: We've replaced long questions with short headers, so it's easier to find what you're looking for by scanning the topics pages. Reviewing usage of our Help content, we've learned that you prefer to browse topics rather than search for answers using our Search box. Scannable topics are much easier to browse so you'll get the fastest answer.
More content: We've aggregated (pun intended) and added many of the questions we've received over the past few months that weren't on the Help Center, which means we're now more likely to have the answer to your question. If you don't see it, visit our Help Group to search for a similar question which may have been asked, or to ask it yourself.
All-in-one: To keep the flow of communication going between you and us, we'll soon be directing you to a page which lists all the currently available resources you may need to get answers, and how to contact us. We value your ever-helpful feedback, so we encourage you to report issues you may come across with Google News and to keep sending us suggestions for features.

Last but not least, to improve support for our news providers (editors, contributors, news site webmasters), our support group is busy preparing to launch a new and improved Publisher Help Center. Stay tuned for that!
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2007: Year in Review
Monday, March 3, 2008 5:08 PM
by Yaron Binur, Product Manager

As we're now in early March, it occurs to me that it's still not too late to look back on the past year -- or to look ahead to what's to come in 2008. I look back over last year, and feel happy about what we've accomplished with Google News. And I'm excited to do even more to help you have a great news experience. For me, some of last year's highlights are:

We made some significant changes to several of our language editions, such as offering a new way of visually depicting the news with our image version, and integrating high quality videos into our news stories.

We increased the relevance of Google News by giving people involved in news stories the ability to comment. This feature has given rise to comments from experts across a varied group of stories, with many notable comments from college professors, attorneys, elected officials and others.

Quality improvements
In August we launched improved duplicate detection, making it easier for you to eliminate identical stories from search results. We improved the advanced search capability and launched it internationally, to help you surface the content you care about.

In December we introduced significant ranking improvements to many of our editions, which allows us to properly highlight important local sources in languages where we're including sources from around the world. It also improves our ability to surface the most recent articles published about a breaking story.

News on other properties
A renewed focus in 2007 was to improve the way you get your news on other properties. In October we launched a new iGoogle gadget for a richer and more advanced news experience within iGoogle. We also tried our first experiment in social news by launching a Facebook application where people could both read and share the news.

Publisher improvements
It's important to us to include as much of our publishers' content as possible, so that we can provide a more diverse news experience for you. Our bot can sometimes have difficulty crawling all of the great content from our sources, so in 2006 we launched Webmaster Tools for News, which allows English-language publishers to submit content to Google News and see error reports for articles our bot wasn't able to crawl. In 2007, we enabled Webmaster Tools for publishers in all languages.

While we feel we accomplished a good deal in 2007, we hope to accomplish even more this year. Please keep telling us what you think about our new features, and what new features would really make you happy.
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Clarifications on local - for news readers and publishers
Thursday, February 21, 2008 5:44 PM
Posted by Gina Bonzani, News Support Team

Two weeks ago we launched a new feature that lets you create local sections on your personalized Google News page. After some feedback we've been getting, we wanted to clarify a couple of issues. We want to make sure that it's easy for you to use this feature, but we also want to ensure that publishers know how to best update the information about their sites.

First, I'll address the specific steps that you should take to use the local feature. In both our feedback and some of the press coverage on this feature, there was some confusion about how to actually create a local section. Specifically, a number of people tried to enter a zip code or a city/state combination in our main search bar and did not get the results they wanted. Currently, you must create a local section to get local results. We're working to make this more clear on the site and improve the functionality. In the meantime, here's the step-by-step process to create your own local section.

First, look for the local section on your front page and the local search bar, as you see here:

All you have to do is enter the information in this section and PRESTO! You've got yourself a local section. If you don't see this promotion, you can set up a local section via your personalized page settings. Just access this option using "Personalize this page" or "Edit this personalized page" (if you've already personalized). Once you've clicked on this you'll see a menu similar to this image (US edition only). Click on "Add a local section."

Once you've clicked on this local section link, you'll see a place to enter a zip code or city/state combination. Use the drop-down menu to choose the number of stories you'd like to see. Once you click "Add Section" you'll see this section on your personalized Google News page.

And that's it -- you should be up and running with local news from wherever you want it. We're still working to improve this new feature both with our results and the features on our site, so keep the feedback coming!

The other feedback we got came from a number of publishers asking us how they could make sure we get all the great local news they're producing and ensure they shown up in results for their readers. As we explained, most of the work takes place on our side as we read every article to understand what location the story is about. However, we also look to check that against the location of the publisher. If you're a publisher and want to make sure we have all the latest information about your site, please contact our support team. If you notice that we are not including all of your articles, please send us a list of your news sections. If you notice that we don't include location information for your source, let us know what your accurate location is. Finally, if you're not included in News at all, let us know and we'll review your site for inclusion.

We hope the local feature is a interesting and useful feature for you to get information about cities near you or of interest to you. We're always working to improve our product, and appreciate your feedback.
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DITL Volume 1: News' First Engineer
Friday, February 15, 2008 9:30 AM
Posted by Lucy Zhang, Software Engineer

As one of the first engineers assigned to Google News, I'm excited to kick off the inaugural Day in the Life ("DITL") post. Over the next few months, we hope to bring you a unique window into the world of Google News by publishing more DITL posts from other people who work on News. Our team is diverse and passionate, and we hope that we can show that to you in this series of posts. I've worked on Google News for over three years, and have seen a lot of amazing innovations. So enjoy my description of a typical day here for me at Google....

9:30am: Get into work and check my email. At Google we have engineers from all over the world, so I often receive code reviews and/or questions from those working in India or China. I starred them in my email inbox so I'm reminded to get back to them later in the day.

10:00 - 11:00 am: Attend the News team weekly meeting. Our team's product manager sets a unique agenda every week. We normally use this meeting to do project presentations so the team can learn what each engineer is working on. Sometimes we review recently launched features and forecast upcoming launches. This is also where we sync up with our international offices.

11:30am: The Google News Frontend team meets so each team member can provide a status update on their project tasks and reveal any dependencies that might be holding up their progress.

12:00pm: Usually my office-mates Dan and Chris start to initiate lunch. They like to browse the menus of different cafes on campus and usually pick the one with the best dessert. Once a location is decided, we gather the rest of the team to join us.

12:10pm: We've arrived at Off the Grid cafe. After getting our food, we sit, eat, and chat about the future of online journalism and how we can make Google News better.

1:00pm: After lunch, I like to block off an hour to do code reviews. A code review is when someone else other than the author examines the code for correctness and readability. News has many remote engineers so many code reviews come from India or China. I try to complete these by the end of the day, so they do not have to wait another 24 hours to hear a response.

2:00: Attend a meeting with UX (User Experience) designers, our product manager, and other engineers to discuss design specifications for a new feature. We come up with use cases and list out pros and cons of various solutions. In the end, our goal is to build a feature that is useful.

3:13pm: I'm pager-holder for the week and the pager goes off. The pager goes off when something requires immediate attention since News is 24/7 and every minute counts. The team has built numerous useful monitoring tools and status pages which I use to debug the issue.

4:04pm: Our product manager comes into our office to check on the status of a feature release planned for this week. I inform him that all the pre-launch procedures are being followed and we should be on schedule for launch. He leaves with a big smile.

4:30pm: I get some coding time and work on the implementation for the feature launches I'm responsible for.

6:33pm: An engineer from other project drops by my office to ask questions about how to integrate their product into Google News. I share my experience with him from when we did similar integrations with Google Finance and Archive News Search.

7:00pm: I go grab dinner from No Name cafe and eat at my desk.

8:20pm: I finish replying to some emails before getting on the Google shuttle and head home.

9:30pm - 12am: I normally stay online during this time since this is when some international engineers are getting into work. I try to be available to answer questions using gChat. It is also a good time to get some work done before the new day starts.
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All News is Local
Wednesday, February 6, 2008 11:02 PM
Posted by Andre Rohe and Rohit Ananthakrishna, Software Engineers

Something you already know about Google News is that we crawl thousands of sources from around the world. This means you get as many different perspectives on a story from many perspectives. A while back, we started thinking about how to bring this same diversity of sources to local news, so that "local" doesn't necessarily mean "limited".

Today we're releasing a new feature to find your local news by simply typing in a city name or zip code. While we’re not the first news site to aggregate local news, we’re doing it a bit differently -- we're able to create a local section for any city, state or country in the world and include thousands of sources. We’re not simply looking at the byline or the source, but instead we analyze every word in every story to understand what location the news is about and where the source is located.

You can see an example with the latest news from Duluth, Minnesota:

As always, results will be clustered with multiple sources on a story. The top stories for a given area will be at the top of your results. Our article rankings will also take into account a publication's location so we can promote all the local sources for each story.

This feature is still a bit of an experiment for us, which is why today it’s only available in English. But we hope to launch this in other languages and editions soon. Please let us know what you think!
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Following the polls on Super Tuesday
Tuesday, February 5, 2008 11:21 AM
Posted by Josh Cohen, Business Product Manager

If you somehow escaped US electioneering up to this point, you probably won't today, Super Tuesday, when 24 states choose their candidates for the fall election. This will be the largest number of primaries going on at one time in the history of the U.S. electoral system.

Over the last few weeks and months, there has been a massive volume of news coverage, statistics and polls -- and there will be even more today. Our mission is to help organize all of it for you, so you can find what you're looking for. There are a number of ways Google can help you keep track of all the candidates and issues -- from Maps with the latest results, to YouTube videos from voters across the country. You can read all about these initiatives on the Google Blog.

Of course, we want to do our part as well. In addition to all the latest stories from thousands of sources in our new Elections section, we've also put together a gadget that tracks the progress of the candidates in each of the 24 states. Here's an example of how it might look; please note these are not actual results!

In addition to providing up to date information about the results on all the candidates as the polls close, you'll also be able to view this information on Google Maps. You can see the results across the United States, within a particular region, and even as specific as a particular county.

So check it out and let us know what you think.
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We want to hear from you!
Tuesday, January 29, 2008 1:18 PM
Posted by Greta Ghizzo Van Everen, News Support Team

If you're looking for an easy way to let us know what new features you'd like in Google News, look no further. Today, we're launching a new feature request form that will make this process a lot easier. We tried to include many of the most popular and interesting features that people have suggested. Whether it's a new standard section or new search functionalities, we want to know what's important to you when you're using Google News. You can select up to 5 choices from this form and if the feature you want is not listed, suggest it with the "I have another idea" box at the bottom of the page. We'll use your ideas to help inform us about what changes to make to News in the coming months.

And for the entire News team, I'd like to thank you for all the feedback you've given us over the years. We hope the form will make this process easier for you to send in your suggestions. Stay tuned to find out which new features are coming soon.
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