May 6th, 2019
During the tragic events of September 11, 2001, people struggled to find timely, trustworthy news and information in Google Search. When they looked for information about what was going on in New York, our algorithms showed results about the city’s history or recommendations for travelers.
Soon after, in 2002, we launched Google News to solve this problem. We built Google News’ homepage to help users discover diverse perspectives from multiple news outlets about the news of the day, prompting them to dive deeper into individual articles and making it easier to compare different views.
Over the past 17 years, we have integrated that thinking into the news products and features we have built for Google Search, YouTube, the Assistant, Discover and more. During this same time, the online news ecosystem has become richer, more diverse and more complex. The modern news industry creates opportunities for everyone to explore more of the world than we ever could before, and to be exposed to perspectives we may not have encountered otherwise. That said, it can also make it difficult to stay informed and to understand which sources to trust.
In response to these changes, we continue to evolve our news experiences in Google products. While we’ve already done a lot to explain How Google Search Works, people often ask us how we go about building news experiences in Google Search, Google News, Discover, YouTube or the Assistant. So today, we are launching a How News Works website to do just that. It outlines the objectives of our work, the principles we follow and the approaches we take in the design of news experiences in Google products.
Supporting the news ecosystem, and its readers
Google aims to help everyone better understand the world by connecting them with high quality news from a variety of perspectives. We do this in real-time for Google News editions around the world. The algorithms used for our news experiences analyze hundreds of different factors to identify and organize the stories journalists are covering, in order to elevate diverse, trustworthy information.
Google does not make editorial decisions about which stories to show, except for the infrequent case of designated topical experiences. In these cases, we may want to make sure that there is a dedicated topic in Google News for a significant event, such as the Oscars or World Cup. We make it clear to users when these topical experiences take place.
News experiences rely on the sustainability of high-quality journalism, so we strive to help journalism flourish by bringing new audiences to publishers. Google’s news products and features send web traffic to news sources all around the world, helping them expand their reach. In addition, we develop tools to help publishers turn their readers into subscribers, and the Google News Initiative offers programs to help address industry-wide challenges and fuel innovation in journalism.
How we build news experiences
Everyone has different expectations and preferences when it comes to exploring news. Over the course of one day, we might want to know the stories that are on top of the day’s agenda, get the latest on topics that we personally care about or get more context about a story we want to explore further. That’s why Google provides three distinct but interconnected ways to discover news across our products and devices:
- Top News, for everyone, with features like Headlines in Google News or Breaking News on YouTube. They showcase the important stories being covered at a given point in time, and are not personalized.
- News personalized for you, with products like Discover or features like For You in Google News, or the Latest tab of the YouTube app on TVs, that help you stay informed about subjects that matter to you.
- Deep context and diverse perspectives, featuring unpersonalized news from a broad range of sources within Top Stories in Search, Top News search results on YouTube or Full Coverage in Google News.
New features need to pass a rigorous evaluation process that involves both live tests and thousands of trained external Search quality raters around the world. We also seek user feedback before and after product launches to understand how to further improve the services we provide.
You will find more information about these topics on our How News Works website, including some of the signals our ranking systems look at and more details about the news experiences currently available on Google.