Google Experiments With News, Acquires Mobile Start-up


Google has been testing a new format for its News page. This design gets a little more social by displaying expandable sections with related stories about the subject, highlighting movable modules. It allows searchers to manually click through a sliding photo show with stills that expand when moused over. The News format continues to personalize the search experience by providing an option to sort in one or two columns. It also identifies the articles most cited and shared.

Google also added Quora, Gowalla, Google Buzz, Plixi, Me2day and Twitgoo to the sites it pulls into real-time search in

Social tags for Google Buzz, Google Reader, Twitter and Facebook allow the searcher to post links and comments directly from the Google News page. Click on the Twitter icon, and Google will use its URL shortener to create a link and automatically post on Twitter, so the user simply needs to click on "Tweet."

MediaPost spotted the format, which continued to change during the past few days. A Google spokesperson confirmed the design is an experiment, one of many the search engine conducts yearly.

Those who are interested can view other Google experiments in its Google Labs section of the corporate Web site. For instance, Google Scribe allows users to get auto-complete suggestions as words are typed. Or, Page Speed Online analyzes Web pages and provides specific suggestions to speed up the site.

The Web is not the only way Google taps into personalization. Google also acquired mobile-local startup TalkBin, the announcement made on the 5-month-old company's Web site. The technology allows consumers to give immediate feedback to local businesses, but it's easy to see how it would transfer to traditional social platforms. TalkBin is part of a large group of startup that received a small amount of capital through Y Combinator.


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