Wednesday, 28 June 2017 11:17

Google redesigns desktop version of Google News ‘for everyone’


The way Google News looks has changed, looking like a cross between the way it looks on mobile devices, and the way it looked before.

Google News. It’s one of the popular ways to find news content from around the world on virtually any news topic, and for many people, it’s their primary news portal.

Searching for interesting stories to read on Google News is something some people do in preference to reading newspapers, because there are so many sources you’re getting access to in one go that you just can’t get even if you managed to have a dozen newspapers in front of you – impractical though that would be.

Google long ago changed the way Google News looked on mobile devices, with Google emphasising readability and a better touch interface than the old desktop version of Google News allowed on mobile devices.

But the desktop version has only had relatively minor changes to the interface over the years, but this has finally changed.

Google also has a Google News and Weather app available for iOS and Android, and with the advent of Apple News, has some solid competition there too, in addition to Flipboard and other apps out there.

So, now comes the product manager for Google News, Anand Paka, with a blog post entitled “Redesigning Google News for everyone.”

Paka starts off by stating Google News has been “designed for readability”, with the adoption of the “card format” that Paka says “makes it easier to browse, scan and identify related articles about a story".

We’re told that “the new layout focuses on key elements, such as publisher names and article labels, and maintains your view and place on the page as you click in and out of stories and explore topics".

The navigation column on the left has been dedicated “to sections that you customise".

Easier navigation is promised, with new sections at the top of the page for “Headlines,” “Local” and “For You,” with the last two customisable if you log in with your Google account.

There are “Story Cards” which Paka says are designed to “help you explore different perspectives to gain a well-rounded understanding of an issue".

There are various views – the first “offers a quick glance into a story", but naturally, you can go deeper and see articles from a range of sources and points of view.

Paka notes that a “second labelled article in addition to the top headline for each story” will also be shown “where possible”, so you can “see additional context on stories immediately even as you are scanning".

A “Full Coverage” page has even more articles for a true “deep dive".

Presumably, having access to all of this info on specific topics will let you determine for yourself what might be “fake news,” and what isn’t.

To that end, Google has a “dedicated Fact Check block” section. It was actually introduced last year with a Fact Check “label”, but this new block is being added “on the right column of “Headlines” that shows the top fact checked articles recently published".

That said, Google says “this feature is currently available in the US only", but presumably it will be rolled out to other users around the world.

There’s a videos section with “improved algorithmic selection for top videos”, and all the settings for Google News are now “in one place".

Paka notes that Google is “rolling out this update globally in the coming days", (with the new view now live, at least for me, in Australia), and hopes “the new design enables you to easily access quality journalism, bolstered with meaningful insights and comprehensive coverage".

Here's what the old Google News looked like (the new Google News look is below this image):

New Google News:

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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