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Responding to the crisis in Myanmar (Burma)
Thursday, May 15, 2008 4:32 PM
Posted by David Garnick, Product Manager

The massively destructive cyclone that struck Myanmar (Burma) has caused an extensive loss of life. However, in the wake of the cyclone, there are new crises facing the population of the country. Getting aid to those in need, stemming the spread of disease, and guarding the safety of orphaned children are among the most urgent needs.

To keep the world informed about these stories as they develop, we've launched a special section, titled Myanmar (Burma). The section is available in the English language editions of Google News in Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The lead stories appear on the front pages of these editions. Like other front page sections, you can find deeper coverage on the specific section page.

In addition to providing news coverage of the ongoing crisis, the special section contains a link near the top of the page that will direct you to a Checkout Donations page where you can make donations to UNICEF or Direct Relief International. Now you can help make a difference while you keep yourself informed.
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Keeping good news stories together: just part of what it means to work on Google News
Tuesday, May 13, 2008 8:23 PM
Posted by Lucian Cionca, Software Engineer

Have you noticed that when there are a bunch of articles about the same story, we’ll group them together? I think this is one of the key features of Google News. When you're browsing through Google News and you click on a link to see "all 257 articles" about a story, you can read perspectives from different news sources, or see how a story evolves over time.

We call these groupings of stories “clusters.” So far, we’ve only kept individual news stories together for three days, after which time they’re broken out and presented on their own.

Today, though, we’ve removed the three day limitation, meaning that stories will stay in clusters (and be easier to find) for as long as they're in our index. Since stories in Google News remain indexed for 30 days, you’ll find clusters for any news stories from the past month. Of course, this doesn’t mean that every article is going to appear in a cluster - just that clusters won’t be broken up anymore.

As an example, if you search for [dalai lama paris] in order to read about the decision of the city of Paris to make the Dalai Lama an honorary citizen, you'll get a story for that event along with related events:

In addition to greater perspective on news stories, this feature will also help us display more diverse search results on the first page: less space will be taken up by individual, unclustered articles. I think this brings us a step closer to our goal of making news universally accessible from as many sources, perspectives and languages as the world can offer.
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Related Searches in Google News
Monday, May 5, 2008 5:01 PM
Posted by Nilesh Agrawal, Sharad Jain and Deepa Iyer, Software Engineers

We're excited to share with you a new feature of Google News: related searches. Now, when you do a search in Google News, we'll show a list of related searches at the bottom of the search results page. We think that this feature can be useful not just for adjusting and refining your search, but also as an interesting way to browse the news, perhaps finding connections between stories that you hadn't seen.

For example, searching for [zimbabwe] may suggest the following results:

In this case, you're seeing a quick snapshot of the main politicians and political parties related to the presidential elections in Zimbabwe. Click a suggested term to see Google News results for that word or phrase. At the moment, you can learn about what's happening in the upcoming United States presidential elections by looking at related searches for [mccain] or [super delegates], or about what's happening in Russia by looking at related searches for [putin].

As is normal for Google News, there are no human editors involved in selecting related searches; these suggestions are automatically generated based on an algorithm to determine terms related to your search.
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Google News now available on your iPhone and iPod Touch
Thursday, May 1, 2008 10:23 AM
Posted by Håvard Kvålen, Robert Leland and Amund Tveit, Software Engineers

As we sat in our offices in Trondheim staring off at the fjord -- we're Norwegians, that's what we do -- a thought occurred to us: wouldn't it be nice to make Google News accessible to readers on their iPod Touch or iPhone? The rest, as they say, is history.

Today, we're happy to announce that Google News is now available to iPhone and iPod Touch users in over 30 countries. This means that you'll see a full-fledged version of Google News on these devices, improved Google News results and, where available, relevant YouTube videos embedded with news stories.

There are a few ways to get to Google News using your iPhone or iPod Touch:
We hope you enjoy this new feature. We haven't been able to take our eyes off it yet, not even to look at the fjord!
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Words matter
Wednesday, April 16, 2008 3:43 PM
Posted by Jack Hebert, Akash Nanavati and Natasha Mohanty, Software Engineers

Be it poetry or public speech, words matter.

Consider this election season. All along the campaign trail we have heard candidates' thoughts on the future of health care, the war in Iraq, and even each other. These debates have generated untold pages of commentary, and it's only too easy to lose track of original quotations. Unlike much of the surrounding rhetoric, these quotations cited in news articles are not conjectures but facts - transcriptions of actual words and thoughts - be they campaign promises, arguments or opinions. Wouldn't it be great if they were easily searchable?

As part of Google's mission to organize the world's information, we've been hard at work making quotations in news articles easy to search and browse. You can now more easily keep track of what your favorite politician, actor or sports star is saying. You can even search within their quotes for specific topics.

To access these new features, first search for a person's name on Google News. If we have a recent quote, we'll show it above the search results.

Clicking on the speaker's name will take you to a page with even more of their quotes. From there you can search within the quotes by entering a query on the left side of the page. For example, entering [iraq] in the search box will produce quotes from John McCain that mention Iraq.

For a different viewpoint, try Barack Obama's quotes on Iraq.

Visit our user to user forum to tell us about how you're using the quotes feature.
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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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