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Postcards and laundromat visits: The Texas Tribune audience team experiments with IRL distribution
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Dec. 6, 2013, 2:54 p.m.

For many people, Google News is the page of choice for a quick sweep of the headlines. Today, with an eye towards the increasing number of readers coming to Google News on mobile devices, Google released a new look for the more than 10 year old site.

“Over that time period, consumption patterns have changed. What people expect from news has changed,” says Mayuresh Saoji, product manager for Google News.

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The new web app, which uses the increasingly popular card navigation to chunk information, is focused on enhancing personalization while making the user experience consistent across platforms. For example, “gadgets” which previously existed only on the desktop version, like weather and Editor’s Picks, will now appear on mobile.

That said, while videos are available on the desktop version, for now they won’t be on mobile. “We’re still in two minds about whether to bring that to the smart phone. On the one hand, it is very bandwidth heavy, and if you’re on the go, unless you have headphones, its going to be difficult to watch video, especially in a public place,” Saoji says. “On the other hand, people are consuming news in this fashion.”

In addition, personalization will also be more consistent. While some of the options for users are merely surface level — for example, you can view content in a light or dark background — others have more weight. Users can decide if they want to see more densely packed headlines, or article cards with a more extensive preview of stories. The basic idea is to let readers decide “the amount of information at [their] fingertips,” Saoji says. “It’s all about giving people more choice and control,”

For publishers, Saoji says the app stays much the same, with the goal being to provide a diversity of sources and drive traffic to other news sites.

“We hope that the one side effect of this is that people read more news,” Saoji says.

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