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Google News turns eight
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 8:02 AM
Posted by Krishna Bharat, founder and engineering head, and Chris Beckmann, product manager, Google News

(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog)

Today we celebrate the eighth birthday of Google News. Not long after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we started building and testing Google News with the aim of helping you find current events from a wide variety of global and political perspectives. On September 22, 2002, Google News rolled out to all English-language readers, with a dedicated News tab on Google.com.

Over the years we’ve made thousands of changes to deliver more news to more users—faster, and with enhanced customization, sharing and serendipity. We’ve added video, local news, custom sections, scanned newspaper archives and a redesigned homepage. We’ve grown from 4,000 sources to more than 50,000, and from one English edition to 72 editions in 30 languages.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal users and the news publishers working hard to keep you informed. Thousands of stories are made more discoverable through Google News each day. Based on the number of articles indexed by Google News, here are the largest news stories from each of the last eight years:
The 2008 election of President Obama takes the cake as the biggest news story since Google News was born.

This year, as we blow out our candles we’ll make one wish: that we serve you—our users and publishing partners—better than ever before in the years to come.
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Extending the Associated Press as Hosted News partner
Monday, August 30, 2010 9:00 AM
Posted by Josh Cohen, Senior Business Product Manager

We’ve extended our existing licensing agreement with the Associated Press that permits us to host its content on Google properties such as Google News. We look forward to future collaborations, including on ways Google and AP can work together to create a better user experience and new revenue opportunities. You can read more about our hosted news agreements in this post and this one.
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Labels: announcements
Google News changes reflect your feedback
Thursday, July 15, 2010 8:02 PM
Posted by Chris Beckmann, Product Manager

Two weeks ago we gave the Google News homepage a new look and feel with enhanced customization, discovery and sharing. This redesign was our biggest since Google News launched in beta in 2002.

Some of you told us that you really liked it, especially how the "News for you" section lets you see a stream of articles tailored to the interests you specify. The positive usage data we saw during our months-long tests of the redesign has continued since we introduced it to all users of the U.S. English edition, and hundreds of thousands of you have already customized your Google News homepages. But some of you wrote in to say you missed certain aspects of the previous design, such as the ability to see results grouped by section (U.S., Business, etc.) in two columns.

At Google, we’re all about launching and iterating, so we've been making improvements to the design in response to your feedback. For example, we're now showing the entire cluster of articles for each story, rather than expanding the cluster when you hover your mouse over it. We've given you the ability to hide the weather forecast from your local news section. We made the option to switch between List view and Section view more obvious. And today we’re adding a third option in "News for you": Two-column view, which shows the three top stories from each section and looks like this:

A key goal of the redesign was to give you more ways to personalize your Google News, and these changes add even more choices. A heartfelt thanks to all of you who have shared your thoughts with us. Please keep letting us know what you think, and we’ll keep working to make Google News even better.
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Labels: announcements
Extra! Extra! Google News redesigned to be more customizable and shareable
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 2:00 PM
Posted by by Kevin Stolt, Software Engineer

There’s an old saying that all news is local. But all news is personal too—we connect with it in different ways depending on our interests, where we live, what we do and a lot of other factors. Today we’re revamping the Google News homepage with several changes designed to make the news that you see more relevant to you. We’re also trying to better highlight interesting stories you didn’t know existed and to make it easier for you to share stories through social networks.



The new heart of the homepage is something we call "News for you": a stream of headlines automatically tailored to your interests. You can help us get it right by using the "Edit personalization" box to specify how much you’re interested in Business, Health, Entertainment, Sports or any subject you want to add (whether it’s the Supreme Court, the World Cup or synthetic biology). You can choose to view the stories by Section view or List view, and reveal more headlines by hovering over the headline with your mouse. We’ll remember your preferences each time you log in. If you don’t want customized Google News, hit "Reset personalization" to clear all personalization preferences. If you haven't previously customized and would prefer not to, simply save and close the "Edit personalization" box. You can always go back and change it later.

To give you more control over the news that you see, we’re now allowing you to choose which news sources you’d like to see more or less often. You can do so in News Settings. These sources will rank higher or lower for you (but not for anyone else) in Google News search results and story clusters. We’ve also added keyboard shortcuts for easier navigation, like in Gmail or Google Reader. When you’re in Google News, hit the question-mark key to pop up a full list of shortcuts.

There are the subjects that interest you and then there’s the major news of the day. To make it easy for you to find the big stories like Hurricane Alex, we’re adding links to topics that many outlets are covering. You’ll find these topics in the Top Stories section on the left side of the homepage as well as in linked keywords above headlines. Clicking on a topic link takes you to a list of related coverage that you can add to your news stream. You can change your preferences any time in "Edit personalization."

The redesigned Google News homepage is rolling out today in the English-language edition in the U.S., and we plan to expand it to all editions in the coming months. We’re making the ability to choose which sources you’ll see more or less often available in all English-language editions worldwide and plan to expand it soon. For more information about these changes, check out the video below or visit our Help Center.

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Labels: announcements, features
The Magic of a Game 7
Thursday, June 17, 2010 11:25 AM
Posted by David Smydra, Google News Online Team

Growing up a diehard Pistons fan in Detroit, Michigan, I was taught two things about the sport of basketball. First, always cheer against the Boston Celtics. Second, always cheer against the Los Angeles Lakers. Fortunately, this was an easy thing for me to do: the Pistons beat both teams en route to its first NBA championship in 1989.

Tonight, however, the Lakers and Celtics complete their twelfth championship match-up in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. This will be just the fifth time that a Lakers-Celtics Finals has reached seven games. And of course I know this by browsing through Google News Archive Search.

I can read about how Celtics coach Red Auerbach was "feeling a bit cocky" in the 1962 NBA Finals. Or about how the Celtics became the first major professional sports team to win eight consecutive championships by dispatching the Lakers in 1966. Or how Wilt Chamberlain wanted to beat Bill Russell's Celtics "in the worst way" in 1969. (He didn’t; the Celtics won again.) Or about how Lakers coach Pat Riley wanted to make history in the 1984 NBA Finals by beating the Celtics in Game 7, on the road, in the old Boston Garden. (Yet again, the Lakers lost.)

While the Celtics have history on their side, this year’s Lakers can boast a better overall record and are the defending champions, having won the 2009 Finals. Then again, they lost in the 2008 NBA Finals to...the Boston Celtics.

So it should be a great game, and well worth following. For that, be sure to check Google News.

As for my prediction, what can I say? I’m still recovering from the fact that the Pistons had their worst record in sixteen years and didn’t even make the playoffs. I guess it’s impossible for both teams to lose, huh?
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Labels: currently in the news
Krishna Bharat discusses the past and future of Google News
Tuesday, June 15, 2010 4:07 PM
Posted by Chris Gaither, Senior Manager, News Industry Relations

Krishna Bharat invented Google News more than eight years ago. His aim: help people easily find multiple perspectives on the news of the day by using computers to group together links to similar stories. Aside from a two-year stint in India to start our research and development operations there, Krishna has been working to improve Google News ever since.

Krishna visited the IJ-7 “innovation journalism” conference at Stanford University last week and held an on-stage conversation with David Nordfors, executive director of Stanford’s Center for Innovation and Communication. Below you can watch video of the conversation and hear from Krishna about why he created Google News, how it works, where it’s headed and why he’s optimistic about the future of professional journalism.

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Labels: currently in the news, features
Making your video news more discoverable: best practices for news publishers
Monday, May 24, 2010 9:20 AM
Posted by Benoit Lafortune, Sr. Strategist Google News, and Olivia Ma, YouTube News Manager

Video has always been a unique storytelling tool, especially useful when reporting the news. From raw, citizen-reported videos from the streets of Tehran, to student documentaries highlighting under-reported issues in local communities, or investigative reporting done by professional news outlets, just about every type of news video can now be found on YouTube. Video is also tightly integrated into the Google News experience, providing users different ways to consume and enjoy news, while giving news publishers the opportunity to reach a greater and more diverse audience.

We are working to make it easier to get your video content indexed in Google News, but ensuring it’s found in a timely fashion is another matter. So we thought we’d share six best practices for how news publishers can increase the discoverability of their news videos.

1. Timely uploads
Videos should be uploaded as quickly as possible -- this will help them reach the news homepage faster and be grouped with the most recent articles.

2. One story per video
Instead of having one video that contains multiple segments covering several different stories of the day, it's a better user experience (and easier for us to index), when there is one story per video, and the video title is specific (not something generic like “Breaking News”). At the very least, the description of the video should match the first story in the video.

3. Categorization
If you are providing general news coverage, select YouTube category “News & Politics” (which is youtube_category_id 25) when uploading your video. If you have multiple channels, clearly identify each category (politics, business, entertainment, sports, etc.).

4. More detailed descriptions
Similar to the first paragraph of a news article, descriptions of the news video should convey the who, what, when, where, and why of the story in a few sentences -- the more detail you can supply, the better.

5. Rich tags
Another way to convey the content of the video is using the keyword tags. Providing keywords that might not be in the description gives us more knowledge of what the video is about. Especially helpful are proper nouns: the names of the people, places, companies, etc. mentioned in the video.

6. Make it Embeddable
Be sure your video is embeddable on other sites since this is currently a technical requirement for being displayed in Google News. Additionally, if your videos are geo-blocked in certain regions, they will not appear in Google News.

If your news organization isn’t already making its video content available on YouTube and Google News, we encourage you to get started. More information on how to submit your news videos to Google News can also be found in the News Publishers Help Center, and you can watch this video for additional tips on news search engine optimization.
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Labels: help for publishers
Bringing Living Stories to WordPress
Thursday, April 29, 2010 11:58 AM
Posted by Eric Zhang, Software Engineer

For the last few months we’ve been talking with publishers about ways to make it easier for them to use Living Stories, our experimental format for displaying news coverage, on their own websites. Today we’re releasing a Living Stories plugin and theme for WordPress. Now anyone who publishes through WordPress can use the plugin to organize coverage of an ongoing event on a single dynamic page.

We first showcased Living Stories in December through a two-month-long experiment with the New York Times and Washington Post. We got great feedback from both readers and publishers. Our next step was to open-source the Living Stories format, allowing publishers to build on it using Google’s AppEngine infrastructure. We then released a version of the code that runs independent of our infrastructure. Since then, a number of publications have shared their ideas for ways we can offer additional tools to help them create Living Stories.

The WordPress plugin is a direct result of those conversations. We hope the plug-and-play solution will make it easy for you to get a Living Story up and running in almost no time at all. Head to our documentation page for detailed instructions. If you have questions or feedback, feel free to leave us a note in our help forum. We’re looking forward to reading your stories and seeing how the Living Stories format evolves on WordPress.
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Two more weeks to update your Google News Sitemap
Tuesday, April 20, 2010 3:05 PM
Posted by Andy Golding, Google News Software Engineer

Almost five months ago, we announced a redesign for our Google News Sitemap. We wanted to give publishers plenty of advance notice so they could make a smooth transition to the new format.

This transition period will end on May 4, when we'll discontinue supporting all old-style Google News Sitemaps. If you are a publisher and haven't already shifted your Google News sitemap to the new format, we urge you to do so by following these instructions as soon as possible. This update is key to avoid interruption in crawling your content and allow our crawler to capture all necessary information about your articles.

If you've already made the changes to your sitemap, we thank you. There is no need to worry about this update. If you're interested in learning more about Google News sitemaps, we encourage you to read this section of our Help Center and submit a sitemap for your articles in Google News. You may also be interested in checking out our Help Forum where other publishers have shared useful tips and discussed other Sitemaps-related questions.

Don't forget to update your Google News Sitemaps. There are only two more weeks to go!
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Labels: announcements
Eric Schmidt discusses innovation with news editors
Monday, April 12, 2010 6:48 PM
Posted by Chris Gaither, Senior Manager, Global Communications & Public Affairs

This week, hundreds of newsroom leaders from across the country are gathered in Washington DC for the American Society of News Editors’ annual conference. The theme of this year's event is "ideas," and Eric Schmidt shared many of his as the opening speaker. He spoke about some of the big trends that are shaping the Internet, such as the rise of mobile and cloud computing, and some lessons he has learned about how to navigate the Web’s constant pace of change.

He also talked about the importance of journalism to functioning democracies and encouraged the group to work together -- as well as with technology partners like Google -- to find new ways to reach and engage audiences, tell important stories and build thriving businesses online.

You can watch Eric's speech, which we've posted on YouTube, below. And if you’re interested in reading or contributing to the discussion about the future of news, check out the unofficial conference blog and #asne10 on Twitter.

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Labels: currently in the news
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