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Science
20 Jul 2017

Google introduces a new Facebook-like feed experience

Google wants to know users better to show content they may be interested in even before they search.

With AI-based Assistant dissolved into Google's products, "search" no longer means fetching answers, it means knowing everything about users and their interests.

Google personalized the 'feed' feature on the website and mobile app that looks like Facebook's News Feed minus the updates from friends or family.

In context

Google website, app get updated 'feed'
Google to provide customized feed to users

Google Feed

Google to provide customized feed to users

Google's homepage and mobile app will now combine news stories with the topics users have previously searched.

The personalized feed will display news stories, features, videos, and even music.

Users can tap on the items for more information, launching a Google search; they can also follow topics.

It is currently available in the US and will be rolled out in other countries soon.

Filter Bubbles

Google to provide stories from a variety of publishers

The updated feed would include stories from a variety of sources to avoid the "filter bubble" effect.

Filter bubbles separate and also isolate users from information different from their pre-existing viewpoints.

Google said, "To provide information from diverse perspectives, news stories may have multiple viewpoints from a variety of sources and, when available, you'll be able to fact check."

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Google has been testing 'feed' since December

Context-based

Google has been testing 'feed' since December

According to Alexa, Google.com with the sparse layout and mostly white space is the world's most-visited website.

Google already offers context-based cards on Google Now.

However, it discontinued the mobile and desktop versions of iGoogle (personalized homepage service) in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

The 'feed' was launched in Google's mobile app in Dec'16; the latest update would help the tech-giant compete with rivals.

Feed not only based your interactions: Google

Google said 'feed' would "also factor in what's trending in your area and around the world. The more you use Google, the better your feed will be. As the world and your interests change, your feed will continue to grow and evolve along with you."

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Will the feed include advertisements or sponsored links?

Google has not yet confirmed whether it would include ads, sponsored posts/links in the feed.

Enders Analysis's Senior Research Analyst, Mattia Littunen, said Google's business is mostly based on ads and the feed would give the company more "contact points" with users.

However, he added search ads are "more lucrative" than in-feed ads.

He said Google feed's main rival is Facebook's 'News Feed'.

Research Analyst Littunen's statement

Littunen said: "Google has a strong incentive to make search as useful as possible. Google has a long term project of anticipating user needs. It's (personalized feed) a move to make sure people aren't going elsewhere for information."

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