Google Challenges Facebook With Custom News Feed Fueled By Machine Learning

It seems as though Google is constantly changing the way it delivers news to users, and that's because it is. And like many technology companies, Google is invested in machine learning technology with sophisticated algorithms to better anticipate what is most interesting to you. Taking things a step further, Google has tweaked its feed, which it introduced last December to its Google app, to not only display information based on your interactions with Google, but also factor in what's trending in your specific area and around the world.

Short and to the point, Google says the more you use its app, the better your feed will be with items that are more relevant to what you are interested in.

Google Feed

"As the world and your interests change, your feed will continue to grow and evolve along with you. You’ll notice that your feed will also reflect your interest level for various topics—for example, if you’re a photography enthusiast but just casually interested in fitness, your feed will show that. But if you see something that isn’t up your alley, unfollowing topics is easy too. Just tap on a given card in your feed or visit your Google app settings," Google says.

Google has also made it easier for users to choose new topics for their feeds based on search results. If a topic appears in search that seems interesting, a user can follow that topic, or at least certain ones—some search topics are now accompanied by a "Follow" button. Some examples include movies, sports teams, bands and music artists, and famous people.

In an era of fake news and heavily biased opinions presented as news, Google is also making an effort to provide information from diverse perspectives. News stories might have multiple viewpoints from several different sources, along with other related information and articles. Users will also be able to fact check certain stories and see other relevant information, which Google hopes will help users "get a more holistic understanding" about the topics in their feeds.

Another change to the news feed in the Google app is the ability to take a deeper dive into topics that are presented. Every card now has a header with a user's specific interests presented front and center, making a deeper search just a tap away.

"With these updates to the feed, it’s easier than ever to stay in the know about exactly the things you care about and see more content to inform, inspire and entertain you. You’ll spend less time and energy trying to keep up with your interests and more time enjoying and cultivating them," Google says. "Whether you’re a pet-loving, Nietzsche-reading, sports fanatic; a hip-hop head and burgeoning brewmaster; or anything in between, your feed should fit your fancy."

It will be interesting to see how fake news fits into all of this and whether it sours the experience. That has been a problem in general, but especially for social media sites such as Facebook. Beyond that, the totality of the experience is representative of a sort of arms race between Google and Facebook, both of which are leaning more heavily on machine learning and artificial intelligence than ever before.