Google News updated to deliver what consumers want
As newspaper publishers are facing declines, on-the-go consumers are increasingly turning to the web to find the latest news with the click of a mouse – a study from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development shows that about 5 percent of all internet visits are related to reading news. Now, Google News is issuing some updates to help consumers find the coverage they want even faster – also giving marketers a better chance to have their stories read and shared by interested consumers.

Google is adding a new "News for you section" to help users create customized news streams. Readers can set news preferences according to industries of interest to them, then organize the stories they view by specific topics and sources. Scrolling a mouse over a headline will produce more headlines on a subject.

At the same time, readers will still have access to the leading news of the day in a Top Stories section on the left side of the homepage. The section features breaking news topics, and users can click on these to find more information or have related stories added to their streams. Additionally, the left column has local news and a Spotlight section, featuring stories of lasting interest.

A News Settings feature allows users to rank sources, thereby creating a list of go-to sites to get their news. This should be of interest to those who are trying to promote their brands as thought-leaders and information resources in an industry.

The updates also make it easy for users to post links to stories on social sites. A drop down menu makes it easy to share news via Reader, Buzz, Facebook or Twitter. This is an especially useful feature as the OECD suggests that cross-media publishing on different platforms is important in generating clicks and getting news consumed. In fact, Hitwise recently reported that Facebook is gaining popularity as a news sharing platform.