Google News is reportedly due for a significant update, where features from YouTube and the tech giant’s Newsstand app might be blended in with those already present on the news platform.
A report from Ad Age detailed the rumored changes, which will likely be unveiled next week during Google’s I/O developer expo, and are said to focus on a “consolidation” of the different ways in which people can access their news on the internet, according to sources familiar with Google’s plans. The company has reportedly been working closely with publishers ahead of the I/O conference, briefing them about the changes and setting their expectations for the new update.
According to Ad Age, the Google News update will blend existing features with those from the the company’s Newsstand magazine app and YouTube’s news section, and will also incorporate the technology used in Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), the open-source library used by publishers to ensure quick loading times for articles on smartphones and tablets. This might result in Google shutting down Newsstand, with Google News getting a revamp on mobile and desktop, and an updated version of its mobile app.
As noted by Engadget, the possible changes mark yet another attempt on Google’s part to gain more favor and “strengthen its relationship” with news publishers. In March, the company launched the Google News Initiative, a $300 million project designed to crack down on fake and misleading news. Users are also allowed to subscribe to select publications with their Google account, immediately placing results from subscriptions higher on a given user’s search results.
The rumored Google News update also comes a few months after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced major changes to the social media platform’s News Feed feature, where personal interactions with friends and family would be prioritized over links from news publishers and businesses. Ad Age wrote that Zuckerberg had met with several media executives earlier this week over their complaints about reduced traffic, though in the words of an unnamed executive who attended the “heated” meeting, Zuckerberg “did not seem inclined” to pay licensing fees to publishers, or offer other forms of “radical” assistance to rectify the issues.
Further details on the revamp are not yet available, and Google has yet to issue any comment on the above reports. But Engadget predicted that the Google News update could serve as a bigger chance for the company to “become a stronger partner” to publishers than Facebook has since it updated its News Feed algorithm, while also introducing users to a “better News experience” in general.