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A Few Google News Design Changes
Thursday, July 21, 2011 2:49 PM
Posted by Jasson Schrock, User Experience Designer

Beginning today in the U.S. English edition of News, you may notice a few changes in the look and feel. This is part of a Google-wide initiative to improve your experience, and today we’re happy to extend this to Google News.

For starters, we’ve cleaned up the Google News homepage a bit. With fewer visual distractions and less clutter on the page, it should be faster to find the news important to you. The editions menu and “Personalize” button at the top should be easier to see. The “Personalize” button links to your recently consolidated personalization settings including your preferences for topics and favorite sources. Throughout the site, all the features and functionality are still there, but this updated design is aligned with the new consistent look across other recently updated Google sites like Gmail, Maps and Search.



In the coming months, you’ll continue to see more improvements to the layout and design of the site, and we’ll also expand internationally.
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Shareable Google News badges for your favorite topics
Thursday, July 14, 2011 4:00 PM
Posted by Natasha Mohanty, Engineer, Google News

(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog)

On Google News, the average reader of political news has read 20 articles about politics in the last six months. Where do you stand?

Starting today, in the U.S. edition of Google News, you can see how voracious a news reader you are by earning Google News badges as you read articles about your favorite topics. The more you read, the higher level badge you’ll receive, starting with Bronze, then moving up the ladder to Silver, Gold, Platinum and finally, Ultimate.

We have more than 500 badges available, so no matter what kind of news you’re into, there’s a badge out there for you. Here’s a taste:

Your badges are private by default, but if you want, you can share your badges with your friends. Tell them about your news interests, display your expertise, start a conversation or just plain brag about how well-read you are. You can also add custom sections by hovering on a badge and clicking “add section” to read more about your favorite topics. To get started with badges, visit Google News from a signed-in account with web history enabled and then visit this page on our Help Center for instructions.

This is just the first step—the bronze release, if you will—of Google News badges. Once we see how badges are used and shared, we look forward to taking this feature to the next level.

In the spirit of continually trying to improve Google News, we have heard loud and clear from the many of you who asked us to separate our Sci/Tech section into two distinct sections. We are happy to report that we have now done this for all English editions, with more languages coming soon. We also combined some personalization settings from the “News for you” and News Settings menu into one handy sidebar at the top right corner of the home page, so you can easily tell us what you want to read on your Google News.

We hope you’ll badge up on Google News to keep track of what you’re reading, read more of what you love and share your passions with your friends.
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Applauding the 2011 Knight News Challenge winners
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 11:49 AM
(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog and the Google Public Policy Blog)

Over the past few months, we’ve announced $5 million in grants to be distributed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the International Press Institute—two non-profit organizations developing new approaches to journalism in the digital age—and we’re pleased to congratulate the first initiatives that have been selected as part of that funding.

Today at M.I.T., the Knight Foundation showcased 16 projects selected as the winners of the 2011 Knight News Challenge. Now in its fifth year, this media-innovation contest included $1 million in support from Google. As you’ll see in the full list of winners, these initiatives come from organizations large and small and are reminders that entrepreneurship can be sparked anywhere. Here are just a few examples of the creative ways the journalism community around the world is merging traditional skills with an online landscape:

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, OpenBlock Rural will use its seed money to work with local governments and community newspapers across the state to collect, aggregate and publish data.

In Virginia, the Miller Center Foundation’s State Decoded will serve as a platform to display state codes, court decisions and information from legislative tracking services to make government more understandable to the average citizen.

The Chicago Tribune will collaborate with the Investigative Editors & Reporters organization and The Spokesman-Review on a set of open-source, web-based tools that make it easier for journalists to use and analyze data.

Liverpool, U.K.-based ScraperWiki will bring its experiences with public data to journalism camps in 12 U.S. states.

Chile’s El Mostrador will develop an editorial and crowdsourced database to bring greater transparency to potential conflicts of interest.

Ushahidi will build off its past crisis efforts to improve information-verification across email, Twitter, web feeds and text messages.

Other winning proposals tell rich multimedia stories, bridge the gap between traditional and citizen media and further improve the utility of data to journalists. Our sister program in partnership with the International Press Institute is also well underway. The entries in that competition are now in and the winners will be announced later this summer. We look forward to seeing the impacts these initiatives have on digital journalism and hope they encourage continued experimentation and innovation at the grassroots level.

Posted by Jim Gerber, Director, Strategic Partnerships, News
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Rededicating the Newseum’s Journalists Memorial
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 9:00 AM
Posted by Sean Carlson, Global Communications & Public Affairs

Outside 555 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., the front pages of newspapers from all 50 U.S. states mark the entrance to the Newseum. Inside the lobby, a gallery of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs confronts visitors with moments of triumph and tragedy captured on camera. The museum’s corridors display exhibit after exhibit highlighting the role of journalism and journalists throughout history.

One of the Newseum’s most moving tributes is its Journalists Memorial, a wall of glass paneling imprinted with the names of more than 2,000 people around the world who have died while reporting the news. Nearby kiosks narrate their stories, an online database enables anybody with Internet access to learn more, and our new YouTube channel further remembers these fallen journalists through video.

Earlier this week, Krishna Bharat, founder and head of Google News, spoke at the memorial’s annual rededication ceremony. As you can watch in the video below, he began by reflecting on what motivated those being honored “to walk a path that was not paved with gold, but with danger.”

Over the course of his address, Krishna discussed the importance of a free press to society and of high-quality content to the web, observed the rising number of online journalists and bloggers coming under attack, and recounted incidents reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists. On a personal level, he also shared his memories as a boy in India and the influence of his grandfather in inspiring his appreciation for news.

“The journalists we remember and honor today chose lives that were full of meaning and purpose,” he concluded. “Let their stories not be forgotten. Let us repeat them. Let us re-tweet them. And let us print them on our pages so the world knows that silencing a journalist simply does not pay.”

To their families, friends, and colleagues, we extend our sympathy and respect.

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Expanding Google News for more variety and multimedia
Monday, May 16, 2011 10:00 AM
Posted by Chase Hensel, Associate Product Manager, Google News

Every day, Google News crawls through thousands of news articles to present you with the most relevant and recent stories. For a long time, we’ve realized that bringing relevant news to the surface is only part of the puzzle—it should also be easy to scan for stories of interest and dig deeper when you find them.

The newly expandable stories on Google News in the U.S., released today, give you greater story diversity with less clutter.

Now you can easily see more content, see less of what you don’t use and have a more streamlined experience:

We hope you like these changes—please share your feedback and visit our Help Center to learn more.
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Introducing “News near you” on Google News for mobile
Friday, May 13, 2011 10:15 AM
Posted by Navneet Singh, Product Manager - Google News

Google News for mobile lets you keep up with the latest news, wherever you are. Today we’re excited to announce a new feature in the U.S. English edition called “News near you” that surfaces news relevant to the city you’re in and surrounding areas.

Location-based news first became available in Google News in 2008, and today there’s a local section for just about any city, state or country in the world with coverage from thousands of sources. We do local news a bit differently, analyzing every word in every story to understand what location the news is about and where the source is located.

Now you can find local news on your smartphone. Here’s an example of a “News near you” mobile section automatically created for someone in Topeka, Kansas:

To use this feature, visit Google News from the browser of your Android smartphone or iPhone. If this is the first time you are visiting Google News on your phone since this feature became available, a pop-up will ask you if you want to share your location. If you say yes, news relevant to your location will appear in a new section called “News near you” which will be added at the bottom of the homepage. You can reorganize the sections later via the personalization page.

You can turn off the feature at any time either by hiding the section in your personalization settings or by adjusting your mobile browser settings. Please visit the Help Center for further details.

So, go to news.google.com from your smartphone and get the latest news from wherever you are.
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Google News and the Coverage of Bin Laden
Friday, May 6, 2011 11:00 AM
Posted by Krishna Bharat, Founder and Head - Google News

Google News was born in the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. An unprecedented act of terrorism on U.S. soil, by a foreign militant group led by Osama Bin Laden, changed the course of history. People around the world were trying to comprehend what had just happened, and its implications to public safety, foreign policy, financial markets, and their own lives. Much of that exploration happened online.

At Google we realized that our ability to display links to the freshest and most relevant news was limited by a fundamental problem: fresh news lacked hyperlinks. Google’s ranking depended on links from other authors on the web. Fresh news, by definition, was too fresh to accumulate such links. A new importance signal was needed.

I realized that if Google could compute how many news sources were covering the underlying story at a given point in time, we could then estimate how important the story was. Thus, “Storyrank” was invented. This insight led to a ranking that combined the editorial wisdom of many editors on the web in real time. In addition to making search better it led to Google News - a display of stories in the news ranked automatically by an algorithm. This also allowed us to group news articles by story, thus providing visual structure and giving users access to diverse perspectives from around the world in one place.

After 10 years Mr. Bin Laden is in the news again. The story of the killing of Bin Laden has taken the online world by storm. This time, relevant coverage from around the world is just a click away, in an automatically compiled Google News cluster with more than 80,000 sources.

We have certainly come a long way in the last decade. Indeed, Google News now has over 70 editions in over 30 languages, and sends over 1 billion clicks a month to news publishers worldwide. Additionally, 1 out of 6 web searches on Google includes a set of news results, which are computed with the help of Storyrank. This helps bring coverage of the most important news story matching the query to the top of the ranking.

In the last 10 years there has been a lot of learning, iteration, and innovation in our team. And most importantly, we have acquired a loyal audience of news enthusiasts, who appreciate diversity and the ability to access multiple points of view on a story. To our users we would like to say “Thank You!”

We wanted to share with you some of the news coverage of the death of Bin Laden. Here is a sample of 100 links to news articles from representative sources worldwide:

ABC News - Abril - Agenzia Giornalistica Italia - ANSA.it - Associated Press - Atlanta Journal Constitution - Baltimore Sun - BBC News - Billboard - Bloomberg - Boston Globe - Boston Herald - BusinessWeek - CBC.ca - CBS News - CBSSports - Chicago Sun-Times - Chicago Tribune - Christian Science Monitor - CNET - CNN - Computerworld - Corriere della Sera - Dallas Morning News - derStandard.at - Detroit Free Press - E! Online - El Pais (Colombia) - El Paí­s (España) - El Universal (Venezuela) - ESPN - Forbes - Fox News - Globe and Mail - Ha'aretz - Hindustan Times - Huffington Post - InformationWeek - Jerusalem Post - Jewish Telegraphic Agency - Kansas City Star - La Repubblica - La Stampa - Le Point - Los Angeles Times - MarketWatch - MLB.com - MSNBC - MTV - National Geographic - National Post - NDTV - New York Daily News - New York Times - New Yorker - Newsday - Newsweek - NFL News - NPR - NZZ Online - O Globo - PC Magazine - PCWorld - People Magazine - Philadelphia Inquirer - Politico - Reuters - RollingStone - Salt Lake Tribune - San Francisco Chronicle - San Jose Mercury News - Seattle Post Intelligencer - SI.com - Slate Magazine - Spiegel Online - Sydney Morning Herald - Telegraph.co.uk - The Atlantic - The Economist - The Guardian - The Hindu - TIME - Times of India - Toronto Sun - U.S. News & World Report - Us Magazine - USA Today - Vancouver Sun - Vanity Fair - Voice of America - Wall Street Journal - Washington Post - WELT ONLINE - Wired News - Yahoo! Sports - ZDNet - العربية ن - الجزيرة - 朝日新聞 - 読売新聞

For those you who enjoy digging into data, here is a much larger list of over 150,000 links to news articles mentioning Osama Bin Laden over the last 5 days (May 1-5, 2011).

One of the many lessons I learned from 9/11 is that the world is highly connected. We live in a global society crisscrossed by virtual and physical dependencies, where knowledge is power and ignorance has consequences. This is a world where knowing what is happening to people in other parts of world, and understanding their circumstances and beliefs, matters more than ever -- because their actions will ultimately affect our lives. Tools such as Google News, which bring order to information and make search smarter can help us cope with the complexity of news and understand the big picture.

Further, as the wave of revolutions in North Africa demonstrates, online information does not merely reflect world events -- it can even cause them. These are indeed exciting times for those of us who work in the news space and get to witness the impact of journalism on society first hand!
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Automatic Personalization and Recommended Sections in Google News
Thursday, April 21, 2011 4:00 PM
Posted by Lucian Cionca, Software Engineer

Last summer we redesigned Google News with new personalization features that let you tell us which subjects and sources you’d like to see more or less often. Starting today -- if you’re logged in -- you may also find stories based on articles you’ve clicked on before.

For signed-in users in the Personalized U.S. Edition, “News for You” will now include stories based on your news-related web history. For example, if you click on a lot of articles about baseball, we'll make sure that you get a chance to see breaking baseball stories. We found in testing that more users clicked on more stories when we added this automatic personalization, sending more traffic to publishers.

Also for signed-in users, we’ve introduced “Recommended Sections” in the side column that suggests topics you can add to your news page as custom sections, based on stories you’ve clicked on before.

If you don’t want to see personalized news based on your Web History, you have a few options:
To learn more, please visit our Help Center. And of course we'd love your feedback.

Update 6/6/2011:
We've extended the scope of automatic personalization to include Google News's "Local" and "Spotlight" sections. Since Spotlight has always been about serendipity, we are personalizing it with a light touch. As ever, if you'd prefer to see an unpersonalized edition, you can still switch to "Standard U.S. Edition," log out, or remove your web history.
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Beyond Telegrams: Congratulations, Pulitzer Prize winners
Tuesday, April 19, 2011 3:09 PM
Posted by Dan Hirsch, Google News Support Team

Yesterday, the Pulitzer Prize Board announced an impressive list of 13 prize winners and 29 finalists for excellent work in journalism and storytelling. These winners represent a wide array of incredible stories, such as The Los Angeles Times's multi-part series about government corruption in the small town of Bell, California, or The New Jersey Star Ledger's gripping tale of a mysterious boat wreck. We on the Google News team have nothing but respect and admiration for their fine work. Congratulations to all the winners and finalists.

The winners also reflect the rapidly changing and evolving world of journalism itself. Almost all the awards went to stories accompanied by a rich presentation of content beyond just the printed words. ProPublica's series "The Wall Street Money Machine" includes detailed timelines and succinct data visualization to better illustrate the troublesome financial practices that led to the economic meltdown. To tell the story of one family's struggle to find a cure for their son's rare medical condition, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel produced numerous videos and an interactive graphics detailing the mysterious disease's physiology.

This year, prize rules explicitly encouraged the use of visual information, multimedia or databases. In fact, for the first time in the Prize’s history, jurors were mandated to bring laptops to the judging.

This isn't the first rule update in the prizes' 95 years of history. For instance, nobody has won the Pulitzer Prize for Telegraphic Reporting since 1947. One recipient of the short-lived award was James Reston of The New York Times for his reporting from the 1945 Dumbarton Oaks Conference, a meeting between Allied Forces that laid the initial groundwork for the UN. Much of his reporting came from the acquisition of leaked cables from unsuspecting diplomats. Though reporting technology certainly has changed, this incident doesn’t sound so antiquated these days.

You can read one part of Reston's series here in Google News Archives as it appeared in The Montreal Gazette.

In expanding the short-lived category of Telegraphic Reporting to National Reporting and International Reporting, the Pulitzer Board must have suspected that technology for communicating over long distances would inevitably evolve. This year's prizes better reflect our current media environment, but it makes me wonder what the best in journalism will look like fifty years from now.

[Reporting from the age of the telegram c. 1940, from Life Photo Archive]

To search for the recent work of this year's Pulitizer Prize winner, you can use the Advanced News Search feature. Enter the name of the journalist whose work you're looking for in the "Author" field of our Advanced News Search page, or use the [author:] search operator in the News search bar. For an example of an [author:] search and to see the recent work of this year's Pulitzer Prize winner for distinguished criticism, click here.
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New Google News for Opera Mini
Thursday, April 14, 2011 11:53 AM
Posted by Arun Prasath, Tech Lead and Dimitris Meretakis, Product Manager

While the Google News team has been hard at work redesigning our service for smartphones, we’ve also been thinking about our milllions of users around the world who access the web not from a smartphone, but from a feature phone, using Opera Mini as their browser.

So we have rolled out a redesigned Google News for Opera Mini in all 29 languages and 70 editions of Google News. This includes an enhanced homepage featuring richer snippets, thumbnail images, links to videos and section content without explicit navigation, a convenient search bar, comfortably spaced links and the ability to access your desktop personalization on your phone.

We hope that this will improve the news browsing experience for Opera Mini users around the world, including millions of people using a feature phone as the primary point of access for the web. See it here in the Indian Hindi and Nigerian English versions.

So, pick up your feature phone and point your Opera Mini browser to http://news.google.com to catch up on news anytime and anywhere. For more information or to share your feedback with us, please visit our Help Center.
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