Google supports local news in a redesign as governments consider the big technological impact

Google enhances local news coverage by redesigning its news aggregator as part of a new high-quality news campaign that the search giant unveiled on Wednesday.

The new project will include a column that features local news by city, the company said in a blog post celebrating its news site’s 20th anniversary. People can choose which city they want to watch the news from or it will be populated for visitors.

Google claims that location information comes from a person’s home or work location on Google Maps or from the device’s IP address settings.

Brad Bender, vice president of product news, said local news searches have tripled in the past five years, peaking during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The redesign comes when Google, as well as Facebook and other big internet companies, face growing criticism too destroying local journalism and gobble up advertising dollars. As news publications moved online, many people have used Google Search to drive traffic to their sites. This made publications partially dependent on Google, which was not always clear what changes it was making and why.

Google and other internet giants are confronted with increasing regulations around the world to pay news providers for articles that appear on their sites. Australia passed a law earlier this year requiring Google and Facebook to pay publishers for their content. Canada introduced similar legislation two months later saying that the current digital ecosystem shut down 450 media outlets between 2008 and 2021, increasing distrust and increasing misinformation.

The redesign attempts to respond to complaints that Google and its partners are spreading misinformation. Google News on Desktop includes an expanded fact-checking section to give readers more context. The section contains a verified assessment of independent organizations. Many new features available on computers will continue to be added to mobile devices throughout the year, says Google.

The renewed version of Google News gives users more customization options, allowing users to view news based on specific topics such as business, entertainment and sports. This is similar to how Yahoo allows users to organize stories for them.

Google says its Search and News products send users to news sites 24 billion times a month, and the company says it is prioritizing publishers of high-quality information.

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