Google just announced an interesting update to its news aggregator Google News. The service now defaults to displaying stories in a one-column layout and puts a stronger emphasis on personalization (with an expanded personalized top stories section at the top of the page). Other new features on the site include more multimedia elements when you expand a story box, as well as the ability to see if additional links are opinion pieces or more in-depth articles.
The new version of Google News should roll out in the U.S. today. Google did not announce when it plans to bring this new version to other countries.
Overall, these updates fit in well with the general developments we have seen from news aggregators in the last few months. Given the recent focus on personalized news experiences through services like Flipboard and Zite, it only makes sense for Google to also expand this section in Google News. By displaying six personalized articles by default (up from three), Google says that it will present its users with “more topic diversity.”
It also makes sense for Google to expand the multimedia elements on the news page, especially given that most news sites now try to add videos to many of their stories.