Google has been busy updating features at Google News recently and today it has announced a redesign of the product intended to give richer content while eliminating clutter on the page.
Google News has always been sparse but powerful. Its beauty is in the algorithm as it finds top story you are looking for along with every other story that has been written on that subject. But, like a lot of things Google, the interface was a little mundane. The new Google News is still not the most vibrant location for news discovery, but it is a nice step forward.
The default view for Google News is now a "one column" format, previously known as "sections." The top news portion can now be customized to your preferences, like sports or technology or politics under the "news for you" settings. Top stories also now comes with a lot more picture and video options and are easily sharable from Google News with one click.
Within the sections, Google now only gives the top link as a primary headline for each story. Instead of a couple sub-links below the main headline it now as a "click-to-expand" feature, which is a button that pops up on the right of the story if you hover on the headline. It takes a second to figure it out but is a nice add-on when you do. Within those expanded stories, each is now labeled by topic section. For instance, if you are looking up the RIM PlayBook recall, it has two stories in the queue as "highly cited" and "in depth."
Last week Google expanded the "New Near You" feature to iOS and Android. It is good to see the company rolling out new features that keeps Google News relevant as applications like Flipboard and Zite track in users with interesting interfaces on the iPad and Bing moves to provide richer content and context on the Web and with mobile devices.