Google takes on Facebook with new algorithmic news feed

19 Jul 201710 Shares

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Image: Farknot Architect/Shutterstock

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A new front has opened in the war for eyeballs on the mobile screen.

Google is rolling out a news feed experience in its official search app, which will rival the Facebook News Feed.

The new capability launches today (19 July) in the US within the Google app on iOS and Android. It will roll out internationally over the coming weeks.

‘With these updates to the feed, it’s easier than ever to stay in the know about exactly the things you care about, and see more content to inform, inspire and entertain you’
– SHASHI THAKUR

Google engineering VP Shashi Thakur said that the idea of the feed is to help users navigate the cacophony of noise online, from social media to news apps and conversations with friends.

“People have long turned to Google to get answers, learn about the world and dig deeper on topics they’re passionate about. Today, we are announcing a new feed experience in the Google app, making it easier than ever to discover, explore and stay connected to what matters to you – even when you don’t have a query in mind.”

Your own personal smart feed

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GIF: Google

Thakur said that Google has advanced its machine learning algorithms to better anticipate what’s interesting and important to users.

“You’ll see cards with things like sports highlights, top news, engaging videos, new music, stories to read, and more. And now, 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. The more you use Google, the better your feed will be,” he explained.

The news feed will enable users to follow topics right from search results by hitting a ‘follow’ button, leading to further updates and stories. It will also include ‘Fact Check’ and ‘Related Story’ features connected to specific items to help users get a more holistic understanding about the topics they follow in their feed.

“With these updates to the feed, it’s easier than ever to stay in the know about exactly the things you care about, and see more content to inform, inspire and entertain you,” Thakur said.

“You’ll spend less time and energy trying to keep up with your interests, and more time enjoying and cultivating them. Whether you’re a pet-loving, Nietzsche-reading, sports fanatic; a hip-hop head and burgeoning brewmaster; or anything in between, your feed should fit your fancy.”

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com