Is the New Google News Only a High-Tech Echo Chamber Now?

When Google News first came online, the aim at Google was to target the profitable morning newspaper habit that millions of people across the country depended on to get their morning going. In large measure, Google News did succeed in drawing people away from the physical newspaper to check out its detailed listings each morning instead. When news came out recently that Google had revamped the entire service, there were lots of anxious people out there checking to see how far their tried-and-true Google News had been altered. By most accounts, the modification, has been a change for the better; they have changed large parts of the service of course, but important areas of the Google News experience have been left untouched.

The new and improved Google News still lists all its current stories along the center of the screen; but now, the right margin is utilized to stock up on a list of the most important world events – what Google now calls its Spotlight; the space lists a lot of local news as well. Where the old Google News had twin columns of news stories listed by category along the main page, the new design has only one. Ostensibly, this was done with an eye to making things simpler and less busy looking; but the effect overall is merely one of added complexity. Let’s take a look at the best parts of all that has changed on Google News.

The first thing you notice about Google News now is that it’s very easy to personalize it. The new daily News for You service will give you customized local news and socially edited reading material. The news sources that you read most often,get pushed up to the top of the listings as well. A source of news that you regularly find the most attractive will usually be featured higher than the rest of the general content there is. They’ve also brought in a communal sharing function. Any set of articles that share a common thread are brought together to highlight links to new sources of news on the subject.

Of course, being able to customize your news sources to make sure you only hear what pleases you goes against the very reason people find reading to be important. To have so many filters working for you screening the world from you ensures that you only always get to hear stuff that you agree with. The less you are exposed to opinion that challenges your own, the less enlightened you are, coming away from the experience.

Still, as long as Google News doesn’t go on to become your sole source of knowledge of the world and instead only works to supplement it, these changes should be quite productive.

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