Google once again has been messing with Google News, and it’s worse than ever—with your topic choices mattering less, while Google-chosen algorithms count more.
Check out Google News update launched and users are in uproar, from Ghacks.net. The image at the top shows the abysmal new look.
Luckily, at least for now, you can sort of restore the old version where, at least on a big-screened desktop, your pet topics are near the top of the home page. You may also want to experiment with “back to the future” for your phone or tablet. The URL is:
Here’s the restored old home page, which includes some pet topics of mine, even if the list is not up to date:
Try tapping or double clicking on the image for a closer view.
Big thanks to Larry-Alexander Hyman for the fix. Does it work for you? No promises, especially if you’re using an iOS device. I couldn’t bookmark the fixed version in Safari on my iPad. Also, I could not add new topics or engage in other personalization. The one hope is that the old feed includes a nonworking pull-down menu with such choices as “Modern” look.” Now, why the devil can’t Google offer a “Classic Look” as a functional option in the horrid new version?
Here’s another tip to try, from Meredith Schwarz at Library Journal. It’s possible you may see more items associated with a search term if you first outside News via plain old Google.com. Then choose the News option (grouped with others such as Images).
Google News usability campaign?
I’d love to see librarians and other information professionals start a campaign online and offline to make Google News more sensitive to users’ needs. We’re not just talking about people who use News in their work. What about the civic angles? Hello, Google? Like it or not, you’re a major link source for those of us checking up on the latest outrages at all levels of government. And what about K-12 kids who, let’s hope, will look beyond Facebook for news? Does Google really want to dumb down the next generation? What’s more, smart news organizations understand the glories of Google News as a traffic-driver.
If Google won’t show more flexibility here, this is more ammunition for citizens who think major search engines should be regulated like utilities. I’m of mixed mind. With such a bossy guy in the White House and toadies galore on Capitol Hill, there’s no telling how much Washington might screw up the search engine world someday, not just for Google but also for us. So, reluctantly, I vote for the status quo. Future Trumps may be even scarier than the current one.
Meanwhile, below are more specifics about the latest Google horrors, courtesy, Ghacks.net:
Here are the main points of criticism as reported by Google News users from all around the world:
- Users complain that custom content, e.g. searches, sources or topics, doesn’t show up anymore, and that they cannot hide topics anymore.
- Some users reported that scrolling is completely broken for them.
- Too much whitespace on desktop and mobile. On some mobile devices, a single news headline is displayed.
- To access your own customized content, you need to select favorites or saved searches now. Topics of interest were displayed in the sidebar directly previously.
- Order by date option is removed.
- The management options of the Settings have been removed. You can’t add new sections or interests using the Settings anymore or reorder the news sections.
- The option to hide Sports scores has been removed.
A test on the new interface confirmed some of the complaints. Saved searches, for example, were not carried over from the old to the new interface.
Adding to Google’s crimes, News has dropped the formerly included results count for searchers.
Why, just why, Google, do you hate news junkies? Stick to your dumb default if you want, but give us a choice.
This is a crazy era. About twenty percent of librarians and media specialists have vanished from U.S. public schools since 2000, according to School Library Journal and Education Week, relying on federal statistics. “The federal data show districts serving students of color have been the hardest hit,” Education Week says. “Districts which have not lost a librarian since 2005 are 75 percent white, while the 20 districts that have lost the most librarians had on average 78 percent minority student populations.” Google’s actions are another signal that the American elite is less in touch than ever with the country’s needs, especially at a time when minorities are on the way to become a majority, regardless of the orange-skinned Aryan in the White House.
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Detail: An earlier Google News fix still works but won’t pick up even old custom topics.