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Summary:

In a move that is sure to strike fear in the heart of local news providers such as your newspaper or TV affiliate, Google News has added the ability to see local news based on your location. Aggregating local news stories from a variety of sources is nothing new for Google News, but this is the first time we have been able to see a specific city’s news items as a news category.

In a move that is sure to strike fear in the heart of local news providers such as your newspaper or TV affiliate, Google News has added the ability to see local news based on your location.

Here’s how it works: simply go to Google News, look half way down the page you’ll see a text box allowing you to enter either a zip code or city/state. Do so and Google News will reload with your local city listed as one of the categories of news available for your reading pleasure. Aggregating local news stories from a variety of sources is nothing new for Google News, but this is the first time we have been able to see a specific city’s news items as a news category.

One obvious missing feature is the ability to search the local view. If you do enter a search term, you see the global search results. Additionally, at this point in time the local news feature only works in the United States and only in English.

Google News Local

Google may make a splash, but their not the firstYahoo! News

Google joins a competitive space. Yahoo! News has had local news in Beta status for some time. To it’s credit, Yahoo! News is more pleasing to the eye when compared Google News. It cleanly breaks up news content based on originating source and allows easy access to local video reports. Additionally, Yahoo! leverages it’s assets by displaying user submitted photos for the area that reside on Flickr.

Similar to Google News, Yahoo! news does not enable you to search the local sources and retrieve results based on your geography. Google’s local news offering delivers local news from many more areas as Yahoo has not expanded it’s service beyond major metro areas.

MSNBCMSNBC‘s offering is even more limited than that of Google or Yahoo!. After being prompted for your zip code, MSNBC’s home page displays a paltry 3 or 4 stories and your local weather provided by the Weather Channel. An individual city’s news page requires massive amount of scrolling and, as expected, shows a few stories from local news sources including newspapers and local TV affiliates’ news departments. Again, leveraging their assets, MSN displays a Virtual Earth map showing local traffic, a view of local company’s stock activity, local sports scores, and lottery results. To my surprise, MSNBC adds a unique view into local blog scene by featuring recent posts from local blogs. As with Yahoo! and Google, no local search is supported.

Topix is a winner in the news aggregation scene and is sure to feel some pressure from Google’s News’ newest feature. Topix’s claim to fame is mixing traditional media with citizen journalists. Topix presents a well laid out website with main news stories dominating the page with weather, traffic, and a poll appearing on the page. Like Google News, Topix pulls from numerous sites. Their tagline on their site is “Local news continually updated from thousands of sources on the web”. Topix has developed a strong audience by delivering pertinent information to a local audience. Each article has “Related Topix” that give a tagsonomy to the website and creating linkage to each article. Topix, like Google News, features many geographic area because of the reach of it’s new sources.

Conclusion

Google’s local news service has a massive amount of potential and represents a fantastic way to stay up to date on news in a geographic area. However it’s clear that if they utilize other components of their online offerings, Google’s local news sites would be more valuable for users. For example: offer Google Maps with it’s easy to use Traffic view, embed Picasa photos that have been tagged or geo-tagged with the known local city name, and offer blog posts that have been discovered by Google Blog Search.

  1. Why would a local news provider be fearful of Google linking to their websites?

    Yahoo! local news has been around for nearly two years and its still better IMHO.

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  2. [...] Google announced local news aggregation as part of their current Google News site. It will be interesting to see how granular they end up [...]

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  3. This is a pretty cool feature. ManagedQ also has a pretty interesting variation. They are a new Palo Alto-based startup.

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  4. Sure a great step wich will usurp lot of market share from the existing newspapers which are smug in imaginative success.

    http://tekno-world.blogspot.com

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  5. [...] mavens, I’ve included some hot links in this announcement of non news. Here’s one to Google’s version of Topix.net’s local news service. (Hurry, these newsy links go dead pretty quickly, which is one reason I don’t do news. You [...]

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  6. [...] Web Worker Daily » Archive Google News Goes Local, Finally « In a move that is sure to strike fear in the heart of local news providers such as your newspaper or TV affiliate, Google News has added the ability to see local news based on your location. [...]

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  7. I seriously wonder if they will knock local news guys off the web… the problem Google has is simply this: its got too many properties/features. How would a community of users, used to getting local news the way they do, learn about this? Its not good enough to just “build it and they will come” even if you are Google.

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  8. [...] Google News Goes Local, Finally (Web Worker Daily) 0 comments  |   Write a comment » Tags:   Google News, News Median Categories:   Links [...]

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  9. Google is spreading itself to reach even the locals. Although still limited to the United States, I think it’s a pretty good move for them. In a way, it helps people become more connected with each other. Last month, I think I stumbled into a blog which featured newseum. I can’t remember which blog it was (it could be this one!) but I was really fascinated by the concept. The point of newseum is that you get to see all the front pages of newspapers all over the world. All the registered ones anyway. I even found two from my country.

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  10. I just posted on local news being overly interested in people watching them (than providing news), esp. in their use of teasers, so I’m glad that google is going local.

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