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Is Google Now Becoming A News Reader Too?
List of "Stories To Read" in Google Now expands significantly.
Ever since “stories to read” started appearing in Google Now, I’ve been eager for Google expand the section. Now Google appears to be doing just that.
Previously, the stories users saw on Now appeared to be tied to search queries. Users would typically see three or four stories based on recent searches. But now, other factors are contributing to what stories Google shows in Now.
From three or four, I’m lately getting roughly 15 stories to read on my Android tablets. And curiously, I see slightly different lists in somewhat different orders on my Nexus devices and my iPhone. In addition, the number of stories on iPhone is 9 is roughly half what I’m seeing on my Android tablets (seven vs. 15).
From what I can infer, some of the stories are based on search queries and some are based on what’s popular among Google users who are readers of publications whose sites I’ve visited. For example, some of the stories are associated with mentions such as the following:
- “You’ve shown interest in the San Francisco 49ers”
- “Popular with readers of Politico”
The language used to be exclusively “searched for…” This suggests the algorithm or methodology Google is using to select stories has broadened. But Google could push it further and make Now much more of a news app to challenge other news readers, including the new Facebook Notify.
It could allow users more control over publications, categories or individuals of interest to further shape content selection that appears in Now. Regardless, Google has clearly seen engagement with these news “cards,” and it’s experimenting with how to far to expand this use case.