Google revamps Google News to reduce clutter

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Google has started rolling an update of Google News in the US. The new version gives you greater story diversity with less clutter, according to the search giant.

Google News now lets you see more content, see less of what you don't use, and have a more streamlined experience. Google lists five main features in the update, though there is likely much more to be discovered:

  • Click-to-expand: Each story cluster is collapsed down to one headline with the exception of the top story. When something grabs you, click anywhere but the title to expand the story box.
  • Labeled diversity: For stories you've expanded, you'll see genre labels for some of the additional articles that explain why they were chosen and how they add value (such as Opinion or In Depth).
  • Multimedia and more: Within each expanded story box, you'll find a sliding bar of videos and photos, links to related sections and easier-to-use sharing options, so you can quickly digest the sights and sounds of a news story, dig into different types of publications and share what you find interesting with one click.
  • Personalized top stories: The Top Stories section is expanded to six or more stories from three to give you more topic diversity. The first three stories remain unpersonalized and the same as before. The rest may be personalized based on your interests. To personalize your Google News experience you can click on Edit and News for you. You can choose the Standard Edition if you don't want personalization.
  • Less is more: The default view is now the popular One Column (formerly Section) view. List View has been merged into Top Stories, but you can still switch to Two Column view to get the classic look back.

Google has also implemented two settings changes that it does not explicitly list. Under the Google News settings webpage, there is now an option to opt out of having Google News refresh automatically every 15 minutes. Furthermore, you can now select None, Fewer, or More for content that Google considers to be from Blogs or Press Releases. This will affect your personalized Google News page, meaning you need to be logged in to see the changes take effect.

That last setting is very important for many websites, as pointed out by Search Engine Land. Back in September 2009, Google started classifying some news sources as blogs, but it was never really clear where the line was being drawn. Given how much traffic Google News drives, many blogs are probably now going to try to get Google to reclassify them as a news source.

Last week, Google updated Google News for mobile with a dash of local news. That was a nice change, but this update for the desktop version of Google News is much more significant. The company has not yet revealed when either of the updates will be available internationally.

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