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Google unveils location-based news feature for smartphones

For those people who like to keep tabs on what’s going in their local area, Google’s latest mobile feature might be of interest.

Called News near you, it pretty much does what it says on the tin – keeps smartphone users up-to-date with the latest local news. Introduced in a post on Google’s blog on Friday, the new feature will currently work for users of the English US news edition.

Though location-based news has been available from Google since 2008, this sees it moving to smartphones and getting its own section for the first time. By sharing your location, News near you can pull up all the latest happenings from right around you, wherever you are.

“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,” the search engine giant said in its blog post.

To try News near you, smartphone users need to first go to news.google.com and then when the pop-up asks you whether you want to share your location, simply select “yes.” A new section called News near you will appear, showing news from your local area.

The blog post explains that a new News near you section will be added to the bottom of your homepage, and that you can organize the sections at any time by going to 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,” the post says.

The announcement of the location-based News near you feature comes in a week when both Google and Apple have been up before a Senate committee on Capitol Hill facing questions about about their respective collection of mobile location data from smartphone users.

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