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"The fees are being earmarked for sections of the website such as Google News...
"We may experiment with ways of monetising after we have got the service right. Charging would be one approach. So far we have found it better to keep the service free and charge for targetted advertising."
As I've said before, and others have agreed, the Sci/Tech section needs some work.
Also, the whole idea needs "focus." There are very few news items which would make top news for every person on the planet. Right now, Google News seems to be trying to do that, with a leaning towards the U.S. and also lacking other languages. I think that the front page should be as blank as Google's other tabs are; with links to several regionalized or customized front news pages.
Whatever happened to the technology acquired by buying Outride?
My experience with subscription based sites is that you have to offer some value proposition. If I spend twenty bucks for your info, I need to get forty bucks back, otherwise folks are loathe to spend money on things they can get for free.
I would probably focus on a sub-set of news that has the potential to reward the subscriber, perhaps finance, to test the subscription model, before committing to/rolling out a general subscription based news service.
For further insight into subscription based services, this thread is excellent:
The content would have to be online, of course... and right now a lot of it isn't... and you'd probably have to work out deals with publishers and writers. This would dig into their normal subscriber base, so they'd need to see the value in it for them. Also, I think there are issues to be worked out with writers of pre-internet articles.
As to the present version, for international news and politics, eg, I follow certain writers and commentators, and right now... as far as I can see... you don't give bylines any relevance. So if the writer's name doesn't appear in the headline, there's a good chance I won't find him. Also, I notice a significant omission of The New York Review of Books, not technically hard news but an important source of news commentary.
I'd also like to see compound searches... author and then subject, maybe organized by date, for example.
As someone else mentioned -- there was that idiotic ruling in Denmark against deep-linking. If Google charges for news searches, it opens itself up to lawsuits from all the big news sites, and many of those sites may decide to start charging for news, too... the usual mindless corporate herd mentality. Then what will the Google news search engine have left to search?
Also, what does this mean for the regular Google search? Right now you can turn up old news stories within the regular search results, and let me tell you, I find that very, very useful when I'm doing research. If Google starts segregating some content and marking it off-limits to non-paying surfers, Google no longer has a comprehensive search engine.
Free global news is just about the greatest thing the Web has going for it right now. I don't want to see Google join in the massive corporate destruction of every reason the average person has to use the Web. There's not going to be a Web at this rate. So no, I won't pay! (sorry for the rant)
After using Google News, I was amazed how much information is written about my favorite pro football team. I thought nfl.com, espn.com, etc. were the only places to get current info and I never bothered to search for my team in the search engines since who cares about month old articles. Also, I never even knew that a number of local papers posted current articles about my team on the web.
Anyway, enough with the praise, and on to this whole “monetizing” business. I am shocked that Google would try and hinder the growth of this service by trying to squeak out a few bucks from the people who value the service most. These people are your best word of mouth advertisers. I would imagine that a large number of free users would be much more valuable to Google than a few paying users. Also, I’m no expert, but it doesn’t seem that spidering 4000 sites and sorting things provides a high barrier against competition.
When I think search, I think Google. I am impressed with Google News and feel that it has potential to also make me think Google when I think current news. However, I wouldn’t try too hard to force Google News on people in your traditional SERPs. Personally, I feel a bit violated by Google News listings hogging up precious space on the SERPs for some queries. Honestly, does Google really think that 3 listings from only a 4,000 site sample size belongs above the ten standard results taken from a 2.5 billion page sample size. If Google News wasn’t “earmarked” for fees then I can’t imagine this type of thing would be allowed to happen.
Just curious--what do people think of news so far? - GG
I think the news page is great, but if I was faced with a situation where I had to pay for it, I'd look elsewhere. Not because I'm tight fisted, but because there are so many other free news sites.
The biggest problem with the internet - How do you charge for all your hard work, when so many other sites will jump at the opportunity to do it for free.
If making some money is Google's biggest issue, maybe we can start a thread suggesting ways Google can make money without damaging its current appeal.
The reasons I paid for this (despite all the free news around), were:
1) Unique content not otherwise available.
2) Particularly good customizability, so that you could easily locate features of interest as well as have standing personal search folders. (The latter allowed you to store keywords, and any article matching the keywords automatically appeared in a personal folder.)
Not long ago, I cancelled due to a redesign that eliminated the personal search folders (great move, WSJ, that's the way to increase customer satisfaction!) and due a billing screwup that somehow "reactivated" a closed credit card account and required lots of phone calls to American Express to sort out.
Since that time, I have managed fine with free news services like MSNBC and CNN, plus Reuters and other feeds for my PDA (via AvantGo). What would induce me to adopt a news service as a primary source, or even pay for it? Probably consistent, high quality content and a reasonable level of customizability - "saved searches" or personal news folders would be significant.
I've used Google News quite a bit since launch, and it's not a bad service, particularly for not being human-edited. My complaints? (1) The spotty quality of sources - many seem to be "second tier" providers who probably are echoing what they get from major feeds. (Is the Jackson Clarion Ledger likely to have anything unique on breaking news in Yemen?) (2) The story summaries take up a lot of real estate. It seems like most news sites cram more into less space, and require much less scrolling to see major topics. I'd like to see more story links "above the fold". (3) Since Google News is a different product than a monolithic news organization, demanding consistent editorial quality and a fairly predictable bias is out of the question, though I see the lack of these as a modest disincentive to use. The offsetting advantage, perhaps, is the diversity of viewpoints offered.
Overall, I'd say Google News is an impressive achievement. With a few tweaks, like a denser start page and a facility for presenting keyword-based news, I could easily see myself adopting it as my primary news source.
This is a little off topic about the question of "would I pay?"... more in response to the question above and as sort of a beta report about some functionality issues.
I also remember reading on this forum that if I searched within various categories, like Sci-Tech, I'd get search results pertaining more to that category. Offhand, with only superficial tests, I didn't really see any differences.
One of the things I tried, though, was to enter a search and then tab among the news categories, to see if the results would be different. When I did this, I lost my search. This is inconsistent with what happens when I tab among the main search page and Images or Directory search. When I do this, my search is retained.
It would be nice if the search could be retained among news categories too. There's an interface problem in doing this and also displaying the front pages for each news category. At the least, perhaps the search box shouldn't be cleared when I switch news categories.
People will pay for a good archive of Old news. They already do in more traditional formats.
I agree, I wonder what will happen if some web-service uses the Google news/links to offer a longer time-based archive. :)
An archive meta news search of a meta news search engine.
Maybe they could even find a way of creatively using the Google access keys for some subscription based news services.;)
I tried to find a way to run the news from the Google Toolbar but I guess it is still in beta. If anybody knows a way then please let me know. It would be nice to have an option to quickly turn any standard search into a news search and visa versa.
I still don’t think it is a good idea to charge for the service. For starters I wouldn’t have tried it out if I was sure it was going to be a subscription type service. Also, there are about 3 people that I plan to recommend Google News to. If I knew that Google was not planning to charge for the service in the future than that number would probably jump to about 10.
I mean LATEST.
Google is very good at giving me the most up to date article and when the next big news event that I follow comes out - I will be hitting refresh ALOT.
Google needs to expand its technology into other arenas - Imagine how accurate they could be with things like "amazons other things you would like" and stuff like that.
Google could use its talents for all sorts of things - even such things as a dating service.
Anything that requires an accurate search to get what you want.
I don't know if I would pay for the news thing - I am sort of a cheapskate, but if it was packaged with other stuff - it would be great at a reasonable price.
I think the news thing is pretty darn good for being in beta.
You should be able to expand on this to give users custom content WITHOUT them doing any work. Based on what stories they clicked on and others like them. This would be a great background for a new and improved google.