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The Benefits of Google News/Google Plus Integration

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google news update This week Google has announced changes to News Search.

As is becoming the norm with all Google’s updates, the changes include much greater integration with the Google Plus social network. Predictably this has been greeted with a chorus of disapproval from many web commentators and claims that Google is using its search services to push people into its social network. However, on this occasion I think the detractors are wrong and believe the changes will deliver substantial benefits to both users and businesses.

Changes to Google News Search

More on that in a moment – first let’s have a look at the changes.

  1. Larger images in news searches – nothing too controversial about that
  2. Real time coverage –whenever a news story breaks, it will now feature its own real time coverage page allowing users to stay right up to date on any story.
  3. Google Plus conversations and comments will appear on both news search pages and the real time coverage pages. Google Plus members will be able to see comments from people in their circles on the news pages.

Scott Zuccarino, the Google News product manager had this to say about the integration with Google Plus: ‘Many news stories inspire vibrant discussions on Google Plus, and today we’re starting to add this content to both the news homepage, and the real-time coverage pages.’

The changes are currently only available on Google’s US edition. A UK version is rumoured to be rolling out soon and presumably, in time, it will be implemented worldwide.

Controversy of Google News/Google Plus Integration

As someone who uses News Search dozens of times a day, I think the proposals are excellent. I believe the real-time coverage pages will prove popular and very useful, allowing internet users to effectively track a story across a wide range of news sources.

However, many in the web community have criticised the integration of Google Plus into news searches. As an example, here’s Frank Read’s comment from Marketing Pilgrim:

‘It’s obviously a ploy to get those who are clueless about Google+ to feel like they are missing something so they will then upgrade. I still hold out hope for Google+ to be something substantial but watching Google try to promote it is difficult. It’s the equivalent of marketing rubber-necking’.

However I do not agree. I think this it is a great step forward to creating and promoting conversation and interaction around news.

Users of Google News that do not want to see Google Plus results on news pages can either log out of Google or turn off the display of Google Plus posts via the Google News settings page.

The Benefits of Google News/Google Plus Integration

 

See Expert Comment

A big advantage of the integration of Google Plus with the news results is that it will be immediately apparent if experts are commenting on any news item. If, for example, I am searching for news on a Google search update, it is useful to see at a glance if Danny Sullivan or Rand Fishkin are commenting on the release. Their real time comments are probably as useful as the story itself.

Discover the Issues

Comments on news search also allow users to instantly get a handle on what people consider the pertinent issue as well as allowing them to see where debates on the story are taking place. This gives them the opportunity to join the conversation. To me, this is the very nature of social media and the fact that it is skewed to Google Plus just underlines its value as a social network.

Establish Thought Leadership

The Google News/Plus integration delivers another benefit which I think businesses will look to leverage to their advantage. The display of Google Plus commentary within news searches allows companies to seize the initiative when news breaks in their sector. This will allow them to deliver immediate feedback to a wider audience; not only providing a service to their audience, but could also play a big role in helping them establish thought leadership within their industry. I expect many businesses to adopt this approach as the possibilities of news search and Google Plus integration become apparent.

 

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