The largest newspapers in the world, which are all owned by one of the world aces, are now taking a page out of Google’s book, with Google News becoming the default feed for news for millions of users.
But Google News is still a new idea for newspapers.
So are they going to stick with it?
“We’ve always said it’s not our place to tell people what to read or what not to read,” Google News’ VP of editorial content Chris Bowers told Ars Technicas.
“We think that’s what the newsroom is doing now.”
Bowers said the company will work with other newsrooms to “bring some of the core tenets” of Google News, like keeping it simple and making it more “responsive.”
Google News will also integrate with search, which Bowers says will make it easier for users to search for and find news articles.
But for the vast majority of users, Bowers explained, the core news experience will remain the same.
“When we’re reading the news, the main thing is, ‘What did the president say today?’
And the other thing is what’s happening in the news,” Bowers continued.
“So that’s where the focus will be for Google News.”
Bower said the newsrooms that have opted to use Google News are generally more traditional newsrooms, but it is possible Google News could “change the business model of traditional news organizations.”
For example, a number of newsrooms in Europe, like the Dutch, German and Danish, are experimenting with using Google News as the default news feed.
Bowers also said that, while Google News “is something we’ve talked about with newsrooms around the world for years,” it “is not going to be a permanent thing.”
Instead, Google News has a “trending feed” of “some of the most interesting news stories of the day, based on data from Google Trends.”
This newsfeed, he said, will be available for “a while” but will eventually move to the default Google News feed.
But Google’s news business has been changing for some time.
A study published in January showed that Google News had become a “central source of news” in some of America’s most heavily-trafficked news sites, such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
And the news business is changing for a reason.
Bowers emphasized that Google’s business model will remain “very, very different” than the one it is currently operating under.
“Google News is not the only way that Google will be able to deliver news in the future,” he said.
“Google News may be the new way to find and read the news in this environment.”
Google’s news ambitions are not limited to news publishers.
The company is also exploring using its massive search index to serve up relevant content for its users.
However, while this new approach may help some newsrooms thrive, it’s unclear whether Google will find a way to monetize the information that users will see.
Bower did acknowledge that Google is exploring ways to monetise its search data.
But Bowers noted that, “we don’t think Google News needs to be monetized.”
He said that the company’s new strategy “is focused on the content that you want to read and not on ads.”