Google News does a really good job of aggregating news from a multitude of data sources and from all over the world. However, how it often happens with Google, while it is good at collecting and ranking the information, one could always do better with representing and organizing that information.
This post shares 3 Google News mashups that offer you somewhat different user experiences. Let’s see if you want to swap the suggested interfaces with the regular Google News dashboard you may be using now.
1. News Timeline: Create News Summaries
Created by Google engineer Andy Hertzfeld, News Timeline (see our directory listing of Google News Timeline) is a Google Labs projects, that structures news stories and other information by date. It lets you view news (as well as other information sources) on a graphical timeline (the look reminds me of the New York Times Article Skimmer).
Note: The tool features English language results only and is only available for Google News users in the US.
There are quite a few available data sources and sets including recent and historical news, scanned newspapers and magazines, blog posts, as well as information about music, sport, movies and even artworks and buildings.
Essentially, Google News Timeline provides two ways to navigate through time:
- Drag horizontally anywhere on the timeline to move forward or backward through results (or click on the arrows on the navigation bar or use the arrow key on your keyboard. The latter seems really handy by the way).
- Click on an area of the timeline to zoom in and look at a shorter date range in more detail, or simply double-click to zoom out.
The navigation menus allow you to:
- Add or remove “queries” (which are different sources including specific newspapers, magazines, blogs).
- Select whether to see the timeline divided by a day, week, month, year or decade.
- Control the width of the columns, by selecting sizes of small, medium or large, to change the scale to shrink or enlarge the data on the timeline.
- Go directly to a specific date:
Another great (yet not really explained in the official guide) thing is that the tool supports Google advanced search operators which means you can restrict results to pages mentioning your word in the page title or force the exact match, etc.
I found the tool particularly useful for generating the summary of all events (and news coverage) associated to any name or business throughout the years (you should select the “year” mode for that).
For example, here’s what has been happening to “Google” from 2001 to, say, 2004:
2. Newsmap: Google News Visualized
Newsmap was already mentioned by David in his post listing ways to read the news a little differently. Newsmap is considered to be one of the most aesthetic information visualizations existing on the Web. The tool visualizes Google News results using a treemap visualization algorithm that helps display the enormous amount of information gathered by the aggregator.
The most obvious benefit of the tool is that it does a great job allowing you to quickly see and grasp some really hot news:
- The font size is determined by how popular news is on the Internet.
- The news is colored based on what category it belongs to.
- The intensity of that color determines when that news item was published (brighter colors mean fresher news).
Besides, you can also read the summary by hovering over the item:
The tool is easy to filter by:
- Country (it’s USA by default).
- Time (more / less than 10 minutes ago, more than one hour ago).
The “Customize” button gives you more options to change the look and functionality (this requires registration so that your settings could be also saved).
3. Google News On A Map
Saikat did once a great job listing some aggregators to catch the news on a world map – not all of them use Google News as a data source. The following three allow you to browse Google News on a map (all three tools are searched and navigated by pointing your mouse at a spot on the map):
- NewsWorldMap: an easy-to-use interactive map that uses the geographical database of Geonames.org for location information.
- : along with Google News, aggregates Yahoo News;
- Google News on Map: a Yahoo! Pipe that maps Google News Top stories on the Yahoo! map also using Geonames.org WS to convert RSS to a GeoRSS feed.
Are you aware of any other interesting ways to organize and browse through Google News? Please share them in the comments!
Image credit: Spencer E Holtaway