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Cool Tool for News Use
Monday, November 10, 2008 12:04 PM
Posted by Hicham Alaoui, Associate Product Marketing Manager

Our friends at the Toolbar team recently launched Google Toolbar 5 for Internet Explorer out of beta in 40 languages. To celebrate this occasion and Toolbar's upcoming eighth birthday, we upgraded our Google News Toolbar gadget: You'll now find tabs with different Google News sections embedded directly into the toolbar, so you can read the news as soon as it breaks, browse top news headlines and images, all without having to leave the site you're on:


You can click through the different categories to see the top stories in the U.S., World, Entertainment, and Sci-Tech domains. When you find something you want to read, you can click on an article to open it in a new tab, or click "all news articles" to open the Google News page containing all related items on that particular topic.


To learn more about the different features on this new release of toolbar, visit toolbar.google.com/features​.
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Election results in real-time
Tuesday, November 4, 2008 8:13 AM
Posted by Robert Leland, Software Engineer

Today, Americans all across the country are voting, and the results will soon be tallied. We'll make sure you can stay abreast of the election returns on the same Google News pages that already bring you current election news. We'll be providing results from the presidential, Senate, House, and gubernatorial races as they are reported by the Associated Press.

On the front page of Google News, you'll find a Google Map gadget showing real-time popular and electoral vote counts. On the Elections section page, you can see more detailed results. At the top of the right column we have summaries of the presidential race, and the races for majority control in the Senate and House. Beneath the summaries you can select a state in the pull-down menu. For each state we display the breakdown in votes for the presidency, governor (where there is a race), and for each Senate and House seat that's being contested. You can also follow the presidential election, and see a summary of the popular and electoral votes by visiting news.google.com on your iPhone or Android-powered mobile phone.

For more Google election tools, be sure to check out our 2008 Elections page. It features some useful Google Maps, including one which can give you the location of your polling place. So keep up with the results as they're reported, from wherever you are -- and be sure to add your vote to the tally!
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Looking back in time for context
Thursday, October 30, 2008 4:00 PM
Posted by Jack Hebert, Software Engineer

News coverage usually focuses on the most recent events, and when we first launched quotes, we did the same. However, past events frequently provide context that helps us better understand the present. With this in mind, we recently extended our quotes coverage back to 2003. Hopefully this new data (our quotes index grew 15x in size!) will help shed light on what people have thought and said over time, and how their views have changed.

As always, to find a person's quotes you can search for their name on Google News, and if we have any quotes from that person, they'll appear in a onebox at the top of the page. Click on the 'more by' link and from there you can simply browse through all our quotes from that person, or filter them to a specific year using the links on the left. Try comparing Alan Greenspan's quotes on the economy from 2004 to those from 2008:


People running for office are some of the most prolific speakers, especially on economic matters. In Quotes makes it easy to compare what McCain and Obama have said about the economy (or, try comparing Palin and Biden.)

Of course, quotes are not restricted to politics--there are also many from sports figures. See what Michael Phelps said about the 2004 and 2008 Olympic games, or what Roger Federer has been saying about Wimbledon.
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Straight from the horse's mouth
Monday, October 13, 2008 8:26 AM
Posted by Arnaud Sahuguet, Product Manager

With Google News, you can read what candidates are saying about a given topic. You can even compare what two of them are saying about the same topic. But it's also important to hear candidates deliver their own message themselves, in their own voice.

Today, we're adding another tool to the Google News suite to enable you to find and access political messages straight from the horse's mouth. Using the Google Audio Indexing (GAudi) technology already available on Labs, you can now search for and watch political videos right from the Google News election page.

Starting today, after reading an article about a topic that matters to you, you can quickly find out what the candidates have to say about it and hear them say it. Just enter the topic you're interested in, or the sequence of words you want to find, and we'll search candidates' YouTube channels to return a set of relevant videos. You can filter the results by channel (all candidates, McCain's campaign, Obama's campaign or the presidential debates). When we return a result, we use yellow markers to indicate the exact moments the words you're looking for are uttered. Just hover over the marker to read the transcript of a short audio snippet or click on it to jump to the right moment inside the video. You can also share a given video with your friends (just click on ), in case they don't want to take your word for it. Keep in mind that speech-to-text technology is not perfect yet, and some transcriptions might contain some errors. But we think this tool will serve as a valuable resource as we count down to Election 2008.

Checking for political consistency (or inconsistency) has never been so simple. And as election day nears, keep checking our election-related projects.
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Google News in Telugu
Thursday, October 9, 2008 9:59 PM
Posted by Kiran Gunda, Software Engineer

During this festive season we are excited to welcome the newest member of the Google News family - Google News in Telugu. Like all Google News editions, the Telugu edition gathers news from several Telugu sources and automatically arranges these stories in different sections.

We know that the 75 million strong Telugu speaking population wants to stay on top of current affairs and we hope this new edition makes it easier for them do so. The Telugu edition is our fifth Indian edition of Google News; we already have editions in English, Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam.

As we've blogged about in our previous Indian language edition launches, one of the biggest challenges we faced was making sense of the many non-standard font-encodings used by various publications. This makes it very hard for search engines to make sense of the text because they are not recognized correctly. Since Unicode is the well established standard for exchange of text today, we strongly encourage news websites to adopt the Unicode-based UTF-8 standard.

If you are a Telugu news publisher and don't see your site on our editions, you can contact us to request inclusion. In some cases, we were not able to include news sites because of technical reasons having to do with the structure of the URL or proprietary encodings. You can learn much more about making sure your content is surfaced correctly by reading our documentation on Help for Publishers.
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And then Google News came to Poland
Monday, September 29, 2008 2:42 PM
Posted by Benoit Lafortune, Sr. Strategist, News Online Team

We're thrilled to announce that we've launched Google News in yet another language: Polish! With this launch, Google News is now available in 23 languages and 48 country editions.

In addition to searching and browsing more than 300 news sources from their desktop, 40 million Polish speakers from Poland and around the world will also be able to find News results through an iPhone. These news results will also be blended into standard Google search results. So to quickly get an overview of what's happening in Poland right now, go to http://news.google.pl/

If you're a Polish speaker, you can check out what Przemysław Budkowski wrote about this launch on the Google Poland blog:

http://googlepolska.blogspot.com/2008/09/google-news-w-polsce.html

To all our Polish friends, welcome aboard!
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Say what?
Thursday, September 25, 2008 9:24 AM
Posted by Jack Hebert, Software Engineer

While political consistency (or inconsistency) can be funny, as John Stewart pointed out in a recent episode of the Daily Show, it can also be a serious political matter.

With upcoming elections in the United States and Canada, we've built a tool that you can use to compare what candidates and other political figures are saying about different issues: we call it "In Quotes." As you might know, Google News already extracts quotes from news articles. Even so, it was a pretty tedious process to compare what two people were saying about a particular topic.

As you might have guessed, In Quotes allows you to do just that. You can easily read what, for example, John McCain and Barack Obama have already said about the economy, education or energy (that's just the e's!). There are more people to select from beyond the US presidential candidates, though, and we also have customized lists of people and topics for Canada, the United Kingdom and India. You can scroll through quotes for each topic, or click the "spin" button to see a random quote for the issue. As with our existing quotes feature, the quotes are automatically selected from Google News articles. It's also worth pointing out that we've launched this feature in Google Labs, which means that it's an experimental feature for the moment.

If you dig on political gadgetry (like I do) you should check out Google's other election-related projects, or another cool take on quotations in the news. Happy spinning!
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Google News for Malaysia, Philippines and Pakistan
Wednesday, September 24, 2008 2:24 PM
Posted by Rohit Ananthakrishna, Software Engineer

Over the last few weeks we've presented a number of new language launches for Google News: 9 new editions in Africa, a Turkish edition and a Malayalam language edition in India.

We're proud to present the three newest members of the Google News family: editions for Malaysia, Philippines and Pakistan. These are all English language editions.

So, what does it mean to launch a new edition of Google News in a country? With these editions, we hope that readers in these countries can now reach the best news destinations on the internet even faster, and help news publishers better connect to news readers. If you are an English language news publisher in Malaysia, Philippines or Pakistan and don't see your site on our editions, please don't hesitate to contact us to request inclusion.
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Google News in മലയാളം (Malayalam)
Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:40 AM
Posted by Cibu Johny and Deepak Raghuwanshi, Software Engineers

എല്ലാവര്‍ക്കും ഓണാശംസകള്‍!

To all our Malayalam-speaking readers, we want to wish you Onashamsakal. We are very happy to mark this festive season with the launch of Google News in Malayalam. Like all Google news editions, the Malayalam edition gathers news from several Malayalam sources and automatically arranges these stories in different sections. In addition to the usual Google news sections, we have a separate section for the Gulf Region, which has a large Malayalam-speaking population.

We know that the 35 million Malayalam speakers around the world want to stay on top of the current affairs. So this is our fourth Indian edition for Google News; we already have editions in English, Hindi and Tamil.

Some of the interesting challenges we faced while building this edition were making sense of the myriad font-encodings that exist in Malayalam, as in other Indian languages. This makes it very hard for search engines to make sense of text because it's not recognized correctly. Since Unicode is the well-established standard for exchange of text today, we make a plea to readers to contact the news site owners to change their site to use Unicode. The other interesting challenge was faced in preserving the Malayalam chillu characters. You can verify the configuration to view Malayalam in Unicode as described in this documentation.

If you are a Malayalam news publisher and don't see your site on our editions, you can contact us to request inclusion. We hope this edition will help Malayalam speakers the world over to find the best news in their language and find their news faster.
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Update on United Airlines story
Monday, September 8, 2008 6:44 PM
Posted by Josh Cohen, Business Product Manager

Aggregators like Google News were today the subject of news – this time pertaining to a 2002 story regarding United Airlines. For those of you who are interested in the nuts and bolts of why this was indexed by Google News, here are the details:

On Saturday, September 6th at 10:36PM Pacific, the Google crawler discovered a new link on the Florida Sun-Sentinel website in a section of the most viewed stories labeled "Popular Stories: Business." The link appeared in that section sometime after Googlebot's last crawl at 10:17PM; because the crawler saw this new link appear, it followed it to an article titled "UAL Files for Bankruptcy."


The only date found in the context of the article indicated that the article was from September 7, 2008.


The article was indexed and then available through Google News search, but was not shown on our headlines pages.

We removed this story from the Google News index as soon as we were notified that it had been linked to in error.

It has been widely reported that many readers were unable to determine the original date of publication of this article, and our crawling was similarly unable to recognize that the article was old.

UPDATE 9/10/08

Since our last post, some have asked why Google News didn't recognize that an old story relating to United Airlines' 2002 bankruptcy was outdated. We thought that a brief chronology would be helpful.

On Saturday, September 6th at 10:36 PM Pacific Daylight Time (or Sunday, September 7th at 1:36 AM Eastern Daylight Time), the Google crawler detected a new link on the Florida Sun-Sentinel's website in a section of the most viewed stories labeled "Popular Stories: Business." The link had newly appeared in that section since the last time Google News' Googlebot webcrawler had visited the page (nineteen minutes earlier), so the crawler followed the link and found an article titled "UAL Files for Bankruptcy." The article failed to include a standard newspaper article dateline, but the Sun-Sentinel page had a fresh date above the article on the top of the page of "September 7, 2008" (Eastern).

Because the Sun-Sentinel included a link to the story in its "Popular Stories" section, and provided a date on the article page of September 7, 2008, the Google News algorithm indexed it as a new story. We removed this story as soon as we were notified that it was posted in error.

While we don't know why the Sun-Sentinel's website included the link in its "Popular Stories" section, our timestamps show that Google News first crawled the UAL story after following the link from the Sun-Sentinel's "Popular Stories" box:

At 10:17:35 PM/PDT, our crawler retrieved a copy of the Sun-Sentinel business section page.


As you can see, no UAL story appears at this time.

At 10:36:38 PM/PDT, our crawler retrieved an updated copy of the same section. This updated version included a new link in the "Popular Stories: Business" section to a story titled "UAL Files for Bankruptcy."



At 10:36:57 PM/PDT, our crawler followed the new link and fetched this copy of the UAL story.



At that point, our index was updated to include the article with the date that the story was crawled, and the story became searchable on Google News.

At 10:39:57 PM/PDT, the Sun-Sentinel received its first referral to the UAL story from Google News, with a user clicking on a Google News link to the Sun-Sentinel's UAL story.



The Tribune Co. (owner of the Sun-Sentinel) has confirmed in its September 9, 2008 press release that the first referral from Google News to the article came after the UAL story appeared in the "Popular Stories" section.

We hope that this sheds some light on the situation from our perspective.
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