How to Make the Redesigned Google News Work for You
PR pros who count on Google News to help them track the latest information about their clients got a rude awakening a few days ago when Google rolled out a “new look” for its news zone.
With the help of a little caffeine to dispel my morning fog, I sat down to examine the rollout. Yes, the layout is cleaner, and the card format is polished. But I do wonder about the story cards – given their emphasis on showing news from different perspectives, someone is curating content behind the scenes to assemble those cards and deciding which views are presented on those story topics.
Google has blogged about the changes. They say the goals were to: “To make news more accessible and easier to navigate, we redesigned the desktop website with a renewed focus on facts, diverse perspectives, and more control for users.” You can add sections for topics, choose which sources you prefer (or don’t) and can scan easier. So I’ll give them kudos for those things.
But the change I found most befuddling, was how to get Google News to display searched articles by date (not by topic relevance which is the default). To get to the display by date option, you need to get to the “full coverage” page. But you can’t get there easily through the new Google News main page.
On a topic like “nonprofits” this is not too hard to make happen. You search for “nonprofits” in your Google News search bar. Then you look for the “View full coverage” link.
Now you’ll see “full coverage” for that particular story topic, but not a list by date of all news related to nonprofits (like you used to). So if you are a nonprofit-loving person like me who is always up to check out news in the do good sector, there is still no way to get a comprehensive list of nonprofit news even with this full coverage option in Google News. The familiar bars and tools for sorting by date and relevance are gone.
If you are looking for a less popular topic as part of your Google News search – you don’t get a “full coverage” option for a story. For example, if I search for news about “lawn mowers” – I get a list of articles, but no option to switch to full coverage and then sort by date. I just get whatever has been deemed most relevant by Google News, in no particular order. On its blog post explaining the changes, Google just tells people to look for the “full coverage” button, but seems blissfully unaware of the news consumer who comes in with a particular topic in mind who wants to drill down into a fire hose of coverage by date. The old Google News let you do that. The new Google News is hit and miss.
I played with settings and other options trying to get just the basic stories from the last 24 hours to load in order by date, and couldn’t do it. I tweeted at Google but got no response. Thankfully, there’s a work around. And it’s crazy simple. Here it is:
GO TO REGULAR GOOGLE SEARCH. (Not Google News)
Go to www.Google.com. And search for nonprofits. You get 67.5 million results in a little over a second. Sweet. Now click on “News” so you only see news stories. This will give you stories sorted by relevance and this looks a lot like the old Google News when you searched for something. Then go to Tools and pick “sorted by date.” Now you can see a list of articles, in order, by date published, on your chosen keywords.
In other words, you have found where they hid Google News, minus the flashy home page loaded with curated content. You can also still sign up for alerts at the bottom of the page (i could not find an option to sign up for alerts about nonprofits on the new Google News page even after searching for news about nonprofits).
I use Google alerts, Cision/Vocus reports, hashtags, and all sorts of things to monitor news for clients. But I still rely on Google News to help me sort stories by date and monitor the pulse of a topic, and it’s dis-orienting to see these types of changes without a lot of notice. I know many nonprofit agency staff who use Google News to monitor topics and coverage because they can’t afford the more expensive news monitoring services. I’m grateful there’s an easy work around to the new Google News so I can continue to review the coverage I want to see.
Ami Neiberger-Miller is a public relations strategist and writer. She is the founder of Steppingstone LLC, an independent PR practice near Washington, D.C. that provides public relations counsel, social media engagement, writing services, and creative design for publications and websites (contact to discuss your project, review our portfolio, sign up for our e-newsletter). She blogs about media relations, social media, public relations, and work-family balance. Follow her on Twitter @AmazingPRMaven.