Google Is Coming Up With Its Own Facebook-Like News Feed

Steve Phelps
July 19, 2017

Google on Wednesday announced an overhaul of its search app on mobile phones to include a personalized feed of links about hobbies, travel, sports and other topics, a move that puts the search company into more direct competition with social networks such as Facebook.

Technically unveiled back in December, and slowly rolled out to mobile users in select markets starting with the USA ever since, the machine learning-powered search aggregator is finally starting to look attractive, practical and intuitive. It identifies areas of interest selected by a user, and their history of using Search, YouTube and other Google products, to produce a stream of news stories and other information meant to be unique to each user.

Greg Sterling, a USA search engine analyst, told the Financial Times that the feed will revolve around the user's interests, unlike other feeds, which show what their friends are interested in. To help you keep up with exactly what you care about, you'll now be able to follow topics, right from Search results.

It combines the two functions as well, allowing you to click on certain topics to immediately perform a Google search for that item. Initially available on mobile search app, Google feed will also appear in Google.com page and browsers.

The goal is to turn the default Google app into a destination for news and entertainment, much like Facebook.

If you have an Android, you'll see these changes in the feed that pops up when you click on the Google Search bar.

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The app also now makes it easier to let it know your interests.

Of course, just as Google is able to tailor news articles to users' tastes, it will also be able to target advertising to them as well - which is where 87%, or more than £18.9bn ($24.7bn) of its revenue came from in the first three months of 2017.

The great thing here is that users also have control over what they see on the feed. "In short, they feel lively - and the Google feed can feel stale by comparison".

Google analyzes data it already knows about you to tailor the feed.

Google Now has always been the center of the mobile search experience, offering relevant information as well as things you're interested in. Khakur gave an example of a user interested in Spider-Man, saying the feed not only gets him the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer but also the showtimes for the movie in nearby theaters. "All the things we do in search will carry over", the expert said.

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