Google News App — A Biased UX Review

Yusuf Olalere

What started as a normal UX review became biased when I discovered I love the Google News App too much to write an honest review about it. I was going to stop writing this before the Angel on my right spoke and said: “Yusuf you don’t want to hide the gospel, do you?”. Moments later I found myself answering the call of my imaginary angelic voice. 😇

What does it do?

The Google News app is simply a news aggregator. But one thing that makes it special is its use of Artificial Intelligence for hyper-personalization. It clusters similar headlines together and shows them to you at once and also allows you to see a full coverage which shows every news house talking about the same thing. It’s more like an automated Twitter hashtag for the press. Just that I prefer it because these trending headlines have less fake news and a pool of well-written perspectives.

On a serious note, as a news lover (tech news to be precise), the Google News App has been a real lifesaver and time saver too. Why?

My biased research

Let’s assume I represent an ideal news lover, my research shows that the average news person visits at least 4 news websites daily in search of the latest information. The first website they visit gives the latest news but the third and fourth mostly have some similar info that the first and second has, so why move around anyways? FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

Fear of Missing Out

Google News App to the rescue

For you

The For you tab was designed for you(me in this instance 😎). It has a Yusuf’s Briefing section which lists the top 5 stories right now that it thinks I’ll be interested in. Truth be told, this section pissed me off at first because it defaulted to news (mostly political) in Nigeria that I wasn’t interested in. I guessed they use IP address to detect country because it changed to Ghanian news when I traveled to Accra, Ghana. What I did was to change my default region and language from Ghana to Nigeria (that was it). Concerning the type of news, the app quickly learned to add tech news in my top stories after I added the topics in the Favourites tab.

Use of User’s first name makes the news feel personal

After the YourOwnName’s Briefing section, there are more stories aggregated from your favourite topics and sources (more on the favourites tab below). And you can keep scrolling and keep reading news from different sources without reading similar headlines twice. FOMO solved, time saved. For stories that lots of people are talking about it simply clusters them and presents them to you as a slide. Enjoy the news

Clusters autoplay and are swipeable

Headlines

The for you tab can feel a little out of control but the Headlines tab gives more control to choose the category of news to read. Latest, Tech, Business, Entertainment, Sports, etc.

Swipeable tab to view headlines in a category of choice

Favourites

The Favourite tab is where you view and manage topics, sources you are most interested in. Stories you saved to read later will also appear here. It also allows you to follow local news based on location but I haven’t been able to use that.

Users can manage topics and news websites that they want curated here.

Newsstand

The Newsstand tab gives a lot of control to the user. It allows you to choose sources and news houses that you want to hear from.

The recommended sources don’t really seem like websites I’ll read from but I can always ignore that, I gat the Favourites tab.

🙄

Things I forgot to mention

  1. You can stop the app from showing you news from a source. Let’s assume you catch them spreading fake news.
  2. You can choose to see more of a particular type of story or see less of it. I do this to train the algorithm on the types of things to report to me. I don’t like reading bad news so I tell my Google News to show it less whenever I see them.
  3. The news article displays the same way it will display in a chrome browser. Ad banners included.
  4. You can control the frequency of notifications in settings.
  5. I wasn’t paid to write this review, and I’m not in any way connected to Google, though the idea of being a Googler sounds good.

Recommendations to Google

  • Implement a newsletter feature to allow users to read newsletters sent to their Gmail in the app. Everything news should be found here.
  • Please don’t make me write an actual UX case study. I’ll do if you destroy the experience.

Have you used the Google news app, what's your thought on it? If you haven’t, I hope I have been able to convince you into trying it out.

Thanks for reading Pal. 🤝

Yusuf Olalere

Written by

Passionate about the collective progress of the human race. Entrepreneur In Training @mestafrica I think design and do code

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