Publishers love to have some control over what people see when it comes to their content. That’s natural. Google News is run by an algorithm and not human editors so as with most things in an algorithmic setting, the end user settles on what they are given and, in most cases, probably don’t know how the information was chosen, just that it was.
Google News has experimented with a feature called Editor’s Picks but have now made it an official part of the offering. In short, publishers can now put together an RSS feed of the content of their choice to be featured in Google News along the right side of the page. It looks like this.
The Google blog reports
Google News is introducing a new section in the right-hand column of the U.S. edition. The section is called “Editors’ Picks,” and it displays original content that publishers have selected as highlights from their publications.
Because Google News relies on algorithms, Editors’ Picks will always be just that—picks provided by publishers themselves, and not by Google. You can browse a set of publisher feeds that span national, specific and local interests—like The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, ProPublica, the Guardian and The Root, among many others—via the side-to-side arrows next to each publisher’s logo. The feeds you see are chosen based on a variety of factors, including your news preferences.
There is a slider at the bottom which allows users to say how much they want to see that feed so there is some level of human control. The reader can also move through various feeds using the right and left arrows at the top of the section as well. Honestly though, with everything that goes on in Google News these days it’s not that easy to see what is what unless you are really looking for a feature. Clearly this presentation of everything Google News offers has ‘engineer written’ all over it but it’s Google so what else would you expect!
Right now this feature is only available in the US edition. If you would like to set up your own version you can do so here.
Happy news gathering!