Among sections of Google’s search, “News” is one of the more fresh on the market. While it’s true that the increase in demand for current news after September 11th, 2001 caused Google to start work on the project, News wasn’t released until much later and didn’t come out of beta until 2006. The service has made many changes in its features and algorithm over time, but the most visible change is likely the layout of the site itself. There have been many alterations to the overall appearance and structure of Google News pages, and another major set of changes is now being rolled out.
There are several “ideals” being communicated through these changes. The first is Google’s standard minimalism. Rather than looking through a large number of full stories, Google is now creating a one-column, “clustered,” and collapsed setup as the default view. The clusters, already a feature of Google’s organization in News, is now removing any story summary for non-top articles for a given story. (The top story will still receive its partial summary and headline, while everything else will be headlines only.) Users can then click on the story cluster to expand this “collapsed” construction into a more full display that includes story details and some new extras, such as labels.
Beyond clumping information into neatly packed, easy to skim segments, though, Google is also showing off their love of media. When users go into a story cluster, they will be able to use a scrolling bar to look through various media – images, video, etc. – from all the pages of the cluster.
And last, but certainly not least, Google is adding personalized news stories in the “Top Stories” section. Beyond the three standard news stories, users will now see three or more additional stories picked just for them.