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Saturday, February 4, 2023

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Google News Brings Back Its Old Home Page … Kinda

In response to sometimes loud and angry user feedback, Google News has tweaked its home page tonight — and one of the new features is very reminiscent of the old version of Google News.

Just announced tonight are several feature changes to how the Google News home page looks and works. The most noticeable is a new option to show personalized content in a two-column format that looks just like the home page did for several years. It’s accessible via the options at the top of the “News for you” section:

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Almost immediately after Google re-launched Google News a couple weeks ago, the Google Help Forum was filled with angry replies from users — many of whom wanted the more grid-like design of the old home page back. Just days ago, a Google spokesperson told us via email that the company didn’t “currently have plans to offer more than one version or revert back to the old version.”

In tonight’s announcement, Google says it’s making this new option available based on user feedback:

…some of you wrote in to say you missed certain aspects of the previous design, such as the ability to see results grouped by section (U.S., Business, etc.) in two columns.

At Google, we’re all about launching and iterating, so we’ve been making improvements to the design in response to your feedback.

Another change is the display of the full article cluster for each story, which had only been appearing on a mouseover event. And the local weather can now be removed from the right column of the Google News home page.

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Google has had an interesting history with user feedback on past changes and features. Earlier this year, after Google rolled out its new-look search results page, the company said it wouldn’t offer an option to restore the “classic” look. And it hasn’t. But rewind to last summer, and Google did finally give in to user feedback when it allowed users to disable the SearchWiki tool — a tool that Google eventually dropped completely back in March.


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