Google has announced a number of new features for local searches, which will help users find news related to the geographic area they are in. These new features have been the company’s response to the increase in searches related to “news near me”.
Google wants to make it easier for users to find important information in local searches and, at the same time, provide journalists with tools that make it easier for them to publish news locally.
In response to users’ demand for an easy way to find local news, Google is adding new features to search results that will help people find the top local news stories and, at the same time, provide journalists and content creators with tools to more easily publish their news. For now, these updates will only be available in the U.S. and there is no official information about when they will be released in the rest of the world.
Below, we explain the new features that Google is implementing for users:
-Local news carousel: The results page will display a carousel dedicated exclusively to the most important news in the user’s local area. This carousel will be displayed whenever the user performs a search for which there is a relevant local news item.
-In-depth understanding of topics: Thanks to new artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, Google is honing its ability to connect broad topics with local stories and news. For example, users searching for “soccer” on Google will receive news related to local soccer teams.
-Carousel of important news: Currently, when you do a Google search, Google displays a carousel with the most prominent related news, coming from “refuted” sources, i.e., from the major media outlets in the country. Now, this carousel will also show important local news, using news from the most important local media.
-Local tweets: When searching for local news, tweets with local news will also be displayed. These tweets will come from journalist accounts, publications and relevant people (mostly verified accounts).
For journalists and content creators, Google is rolling out the following new features:
-Census map: A map that may be embedded in any news source that shows census data at the national, state, and county levels, as well as the various census tracts. The data on this map is from the United States, as it comes from “The Associated Press”.
-Common Knowledge Project: Common Knowledge Project is a tool for U.S. journalists that provides local data and a feedback platform for news professionals. Google will update some of its features, adding geographic comparisons as well as new graphics and images.