It’s usually easy to tell which services Google is passionate about and which ones they most want to grow because they update and add new features to them pretty regularly. One service that has kinda been neglected over time is Google News, and people are starting to notice. A recent article over at The New York Times points out how slow Google is at updating the top news of the day. Their example was last week when Tim Russert of NBC News died. They pointed out that news sites like Yahoo News had it posted immediately while it took Google an hour to catch-up to their competitors.
To point out even further how Google is struggling to grow Google News, we’ll let the numbers do the talking. In May, Google News had 11.4 million visitors. That number, while it may seem large, was enough to put them in 8th place. Take Yahoo News on the other hand, they were ranked #1 with 35.8 million visitors which is quite a difference.
So what does Google plan to do with Google News? Are they going to try and grow it and gather up more daily visitors? Are they going to place ads on the site to monetize it? According to Google officials, Google News is available as part of a plan to “feed the main business.” Google’s Vice President for Search and User Experience, Marissa Mayer explains, “For us, news is about search and helping people find information.”
Of course it’s worth pointing out that Google uses an entirely different system for obtaining news than sites like Yahoo. Yahoo aggregates news while cites like CNN are original news sources. Google on the other hand has their own system for finding news. The NYT explains it saying:
In the same way that Google’s computers crawl through the Web to add pages to its search engine, the company’s news service scans Web sites and compiles the articles it collects into an index. It then groups together articles on a particular subject and uses various signals – the placement of an article on an ews site, the authority of a news publisher on a given topic, whether the article appears elsewhere– to rank those articles by importance.
The bottom line is that Google News is a little behind their competitors when it comes to providing the most up-to-date news which could be keeping them from growing.