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Google News is an automated news aggregator provided by Google Inc. The initial idea, StoryRank—related to Google's PageRank formula—was developed by Krishna Bharat in 2001, the Principal Research Scientist of Google. No human is involved in the altering of the front page or story promotion, beyond tweaking the aggregation algorithm. Google News left beta in January 2006.

Technical specifications

Introduced as a beta release in April 2002, the Google News service came out of beta on 23 January 2006. Different versions of the aggregator are available for more than 40 regions in 19 languages (as of 31 July 2008), with continuing development ongoing. Currently, service in the following languages is offered: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese (traditional and simplified characters), Japanese, Korean, Dutch, Arabic, Hebrew, Norwegian, Czech, Swedish, Greek, Russian, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Turkish, Polish and Malayalam.

The service covers news articles appearing within the past 30 days on various news websites. For the English language it covers about 4,500 sites ; for other languages, less. Its front page provides roughly the first 200 characters of the article and a link to its larger content. Websites may or may not require a subscription; sites requiring subscription are noted in the article description.

Article selection

In March 2005 attention was called to Google's inclusion of the white supremacist National Vanguard magazine, and the resulting controversy prompted Google News to remove the site from its service. In another case, Google was criticized for not including sources that are censored in China. On September 27, 2004, on the official Google Blog, the Google Team wrote: "For users inside the People's Republic of China, we have chosen not to include sources that are inaccessible from within that country." Google now places specific IP addresses from China on a blacklist and prevents them from being indexed.

News agencies

In March 2005, Agence France Presse (AFP) sued Google for $17.5 million, alleging that Google News infringed on its copyright because "Google includes AFP’s photos, stories and news headlines on Google News without permission from Agence France Presse."[54660] [54661] It was also alleged that Google ignored a cease and desist order, though Google counters that it has opt-out procedures which AFP could have followed but did not. Google now hosts Agence France-Presse news, as well as the Associated Press, Press Association and the Canadian Press. This arrangement started in August 2007.In 2007 Google announced it was paying for Associated Press content displayed in Google News, however the articles are not permanently archived.

Belgium opposition

In 2007, a court in Belgium ruled that Google did not have the right to display the lead paragraph from Belgian news sources when Google aggregated news stories.

Features and customization

Google News provides searching, and the choice of sorting the results by date and time of publishing (not to be confused with date and time of the news' happening) or grouping them (and also grouping without searching). In the English versions, there are options to tailor the grouping to a selected national audience.

Users can request e-mail "alerts" on various keyword topics by subscribing to Google News Alerts. E-mails are sent to subscribers whenever news articles matching their requests come online. Alerts are also available via RSS and Atom feeds.

Users can customize the displayed sections, their location on the page, and how many stories are visible with a JavaScript-based drag and drop interface. Stories from different editions of Google News can be combined to form one personalized page, with the options stored in a cookie. The service has been integrated with Google Search History since November 2005. Upon its graduation from beta, a section was added that displays recommended news based on the user's Google News search history and the articles the user has clicked on (if the user has signed up for Search History).as

News Archive Search

On June 6, 2006, Google News expanded, adding a News Archive Search feature, offering users historical archives going back more than 200 years from some of its sources. There is a timeline view available, to select news from various years.

An expansion of the service was announced on September 8, 2008, when Google News began to offer indexed content from scanned newspapers. . The depth of chronological coverage varies; beginning in 2008, the entire content of the New York Times back to its founding in 1851 has been available.

Coverage artifacts

On September 7, 2007, United Airlines, which was the subject of an indexed, archived article, lost and later not quite regained USD $1 billion in market value when a 2002 Chicago Tribune article about the bankruptcy filing of the airline in that year appeared in the current "most viewed" category on the website of the Sun-Sentinel, a sister paper. Google News index's next pass found the link as new news, and Income Security Advisors found the Google result to be new news, which was passed along to Bloomberg News where it was briefly a current headline and very widely viewed.

First click free

On December 1, 2009 Google announced their "first click free" program which would allow users to find and read articles behind a paywall. The reader's first click to the content would be free, and the number after that would be set by the content provider.

Sources for news

As a news aggregator site, Google uses its own software to determine which stories to show from the online news sources it watches. Human editorial input does come into the system, however, in choosing exactly which sources Google News will pick from. This is where some of the controversy over Google News originates, when some news sources are included when visitors feel they don't deserve it, and when other news sources are excluded when visitors feel they ought to be included. For examples, see the above mentions of Indymedia, or National Vanguard.

The actual list of sources is not known outside of Google, but such a list would go far in helping to judge how well Google News works toward its purpose of helping make the world's information accessible. The stated information from Google is that it watches more than 4,500 English-language news sites. In the absence of a list, many independent sites have come up with their own ways of determining what news sources Google picks from.

On June 6, 2009, Google News experimented with providing links to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, a step that was criticized both positively and negatively. The program was short lived.

Example list of sources for English edition, as of May 2007

The site Google News Report monitors the Google News homepage, and for May 2007, published this list of the top 26 sites most-often referenced by Google News:

Rank News Source
1 The New York Times
2 Washington Post
3 Houston Chronicle
4 Bloomberg L.P.
5 Los Angeles Times
6 Reuters
7 Forbes
8 Monsters and
10 Voice of America
11 International Herald Tribune
12 Boston Globe
13 Chicago Tribune
14 BBC News
15 San Francisco Chronicle
16 CBS News
17 Times Online
18 Xinhuamarker
19 Wall Street Journal
20 USA Today
21 Fox News
22 CNN
23 Seattle Post Intelligencer
25 ABC News
25 Daily Mail and Mail On Sunday
26 The Times of India

See also


  1. Krishna Bharat, "And now, News", The Official Google Blog, 23 January 2006. "We're taking Google News out of beta! When we launched the English-language edition in September 2002, we entered untested waters with a grand experiment in news browsing - using computers to organize the world's news in real time and providing a bird's eye view of what's being reported on virtually any topic. By presenting news "clusters" (related articles in a group), we thought it would encourage readers to get a broader perspective by digging deeper into the news -- reading ten articles instead of one, perhaps -- and then gain a better understanding of the issues, which could ultimately benefit society. A bit more than three years later, we offer 22 regional editions in 10 languages, and have a better sense of how people use Google News." Accessed 19 June 2008.
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