Google is rolling out an update to the News tab of its desktop search function, with a refreshed design that sacrifices information density for clarity.
The new design, which the company announced in a tweet, brings the look of the News tab closer to that of the dedicated Google News site. News stories are now displayed in a card format rather than a list, making headlines and the names of publishers more prominent. It also seems like the company is grouping stories together more clearly, so if you search for a broad topic (like “MLB”) it’s easier to distinguish different strands of coverage.
The change itself is relatively minor, but it’s part of a larger effort by Google to improve its news products. The tech giant’s treatment of news sometimes seems like an afterthought, with the company content to have its search and aggregation features scoop up content. But anxiety over digital news has grown in recent years, with publishers worried by diminishing revenue and experts warning about the proliferation of low-quality sources.
Google’s response has been multi-pronged. It’s formed partnerships with local news orgs; created new mechanisms that make it easier for users to subscribe to publishers; set up programs to fight fake news; and relaunched its own dedicated News app with new AI features. It’s a flurry of activity, though it’s not clear if any of these programs will change the basic dynamic of the current media landscape, with tech platforms continuing to cut into the revenues of publishers while pushing users to dubious publishers.
The updated News tab will be rolling out to users around the world in the coming weeks.