As posted on Google to add ‘news feed’ to website and app
Google is adding a personalised Facebook-style news feed to its homepage – Google.com -to show users content they may be interested in before they search.
It will display news stories, features, videos and music chosen on the basis of previous searches by the same user.
Users will also be able to click a “follow” button on search results to add topics of interest to their feed.
One analyst said the move would help Google compete with rivals.
“Google has a strong incentive to make search as useful as possible,” said Mattia Littunen, a senior research analyst at Enders Analysis.
“Facebook’s news feed is one of its main rivals. It is competing with other ways of accessing content.”
Google has been trialling a simpler version of its news feed in its smartphone app since December, and its full news feed will be added to its smartphone apps in the US first.
But the company has now confirmed it intends to add the feature to Google.com too.
Google is known for its sparse homepage, which, though mostly white space, has, according to analytics firm Alexa Internet, become the world’s most-visited website.
The feed will include news stories from a variety of publishers, to avoid the so-called filter bubble effect, where people follow only content aligned with their pre-existing point of view.
“To provide information from diverse perspectives, news stories may have multiple viewpoints from a variety of sources… and, when available, you’ll be able to fact check,” the company said in a blog post.
The search giant already offers some context-based information in its smartphone search app in the form of Google Now cards, but discontinued its personalised homepage service iGoogle in 2013.
Items in the new personalised feed can be tapped or clicked to launch a Google search for more information.
“Search ads are more lucrative than in-feed ads such as Facebook’s,” said Mr Littunen.
“Google’s business is based on selling advertising, so this gives them more contact points with consumers.”
The company did not divulge whether it would insert advertisements or sponsored posts into the feed, but Mr Littunen suggested the focus of the service was to make Google more useful and drive users to its other services.
“Google has a long term project of anticipating user needs. It’s a move to make sure people aren’t going elsewhere for information,” he told the BBC.