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article imageGoogle launches a Facebook-style news feed for your interests

By James Walker     Jul 19, 2017 in Technology
Google has announced a new mobile app feature that surfaces articles that may be relevant to you. Called Feed, the feature has drawn comparisons with Facebook's News Feed. It's part of Google's ongoing efforts to become a destination, rather than a tool.
For years, Google relied on people visiting its service as a gateway to others. You'd navigate to its search engine, search for some news or an article that interested you and then head directly to the website that offered it.
Apps like Facebook built their product around the opposite concept of information coming to you. When you open Facebook, the chances are you immediately see something that's relevant to you, encouraging you to use the app. It's this kind of model that Google is pivoting towards. Its new update to Feed, a mobile feature first introduced in December, makes this evident.
At the top of Feed, you'll see Google's characteristic cards of news highlights, sports scores, the local weather and updates on topical events. As you scroll down the feed, you'll be shown personalised content that's relevant to you. In the same way as Facebook, Google will surface articles from across the web and present them in a single scrolling screen.
The feed isn't exactly the same though. The vast stores of data that Google has access to enable it to find material for you that won't appear on other services. Notably, Feed is willing to show you "old" articles if they're likely to be relevant.
The real-time nature of Facebook and Twitter means you only see content created in the past few days or even hours. In comparison, Feed avoids blindly surfacing the newest content. Its age is balanced with how relevant it is to your interests.
If you're a programmer and you've been searching for articles around a certain topic, Feed might include an article published a year ago if it thinks you'll find it useful. The app can also show you content based on events you've been to or have scheduled. If it knows you're going to a concert, Feed will find articles about the performers, even if it means pulling in content published months ago.
"Your feed will not only be based on your interactions with Google, but also factor in what's trending in your area and around the world," said Google. "The more you use Google, the better your feed will be."
Google's been working on this kind of view for years. Google Now was the first of the company's efforts to bring information to you, rather than the other way around. With the full launch of Feed today, Now will be discontinued. Feed has been incorporated into the Google app for Android and iOS and shows up automatically when you swipe up from the homepage.
Feed's available now in the U.S. and will be rolled out gradually across the world in the coming weeks. You can leave Feed to determine your interests from how you use Google or specifically add topics that you want to follow. The screen also includes fact check tags to give you a "holistic understanding" of the stories that it features.
More about Google, google feed, Social media, Facebook, News
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