The new version of Google News is divided into three distinct sections: Headlines, which features the day’s trending stories; Local, which lets users follow news from certain locations; and For You, which consists of topics in which users have expressed interest.
“Our goal here was to make every frequent task and every user need smooth and frictionless so they are connected to the news and journalism, which is why they come to Google News — to read the news and find out what’s going on,” Google News product manager Anand Paka told Neiman Lab. “To give them that multitude of facts, voices, and perspectives, you want the UI to disappear and not be a sense of overload or cognitive load on them but just be transparent.”
Stories themselves have a cleaner look, appearing as spaced-out cards with images, bold headlines, and links to related coverage. Longtime Google News features like videos and real-time coverage remain in place, but the new News interface lets users expand cards to show more coverage or follow a given publishers’ stories. And new settings permit a greater degree of control over the types of stories that populate the feed — now, it’s easier to specify which topics users want to follow and the news outlets they’d like to prioritize.
The new Google News places a greater emphasis on fact checking, in addition. A new widget on the right-hand side shows verified sources from PolitiFact, Snopes, and other third parties. Fact-checked recommendations are available in the United States for now, but Google plans to roll it out more widely in the coming weeks.
Google News’ new, more prominent “fact-checked” column follows on the heels of the search giant’s other efforts. In April, it began to showcase fact-checking sites in search and news results, and launched a series of initiatives to promote more accurate content across its services.
But for now, the redesign is focused on improving user interfaces.
“Because it’s a redesign, it’s more about the surface-type touches to the user for the most part,” Paka told Neiman Lab. “Under the hood, we continue to use and build upon all the best practices both from search and as well as from Google News … We take an open-web philosophy. As long as a publisher is actively publishing news content, they are included in News and we maintain that policy bar for the people who show up in Google News. Once you have these quality sources within our index, then it’s about ranking and picking the best article to show at any given time.”