Google News has destroyed a valuable asset

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This won’t be a major issue for most people, but Google once had a very valuable asset: Google News.

Google News once aggregated 1000s of news stories from across the web and allowed users to customise “sections” according to their preference – even using news keyword searches. You could even decide how many stories would appear in each section, and the other of the sections. It was a very versatile service that worked “off the shelf”, but could be personalised.

Today, Google pushed out an “update” that turns Google News into a “feed”, much like a Facebook “news” feed. This has destroyed the utility of Google News, making it an incoherent mess. Worse still, there is no way to revert to the old version.

A Google employee stated on the Google support forums (which has 100s of complaints about the new “redesign”:

Thanks for your concern, everyone. We understand your frustration, but we have no plans to revert to the old version of Google News.

This is a terrible decision in my view. And clearly the vast majority of users of the Google feeback forums dislike the change.

I used Google News daily, but as of today will not be using it unless I hear that there is way to use the old version.

Most of Google’s services allow a way for their users to continue to use old versions of their products. GMail for example allows you to use the “old” version of Gmail (which does not include many of the new features). For a long time I used the old version of Gmail until the new one became more useable.

If Google is so confident that their new version of Google News is better, then they should have the confidence to allow people to migrate at their own pace.

Most of Google’s improvements are for the best, but in thise case they have destroyed a valuable asset for no good purpose.

UPDATE:

Looks like the easy way to “revert” the changes is to change the default country selection to make it specifically “Australia”. No idea how long it will be before the crappy “US Edition” of Google News is forced on Australia.

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  1. Alexander White - July 2, 2010

    So frustrated by how bad the new Google News "redesign" is that I had to write about it: http://wp.me/piF9B-1ct #badgooglenews

  2. Alexander White - July 2, 2010

    Google News continuse to annoy and frustrate with their refusal to recognise that they've made a massive blunder. http://bit.ly/agHIBX

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