Monday, May 16, 2011

A New Interface for Google News: No Clusters, No Clutter

Google News has a redesigned interface that tries to remove the visual clutter and make multimedia satisfied more discoverable. All Google News clusters are collapsed by default, except for the top news story. Clusters include more links, a special section for images and videos, but you have to physically expand them.

"The newly stretchy stories on Google News in the U.S., released today, give you greater story diversity with less clutter. Now you can easily see more content, see less of what you don't use and have a more streamlined skill," explains Google.

By default, Google uses the single feature view, but you can switch to the two column view with the extra benefit of going back to the old interface. Here's the new interface:

... and the classic interface:

The redesigned UI shows a single news article in its place of a group of related articles. Although the cluster is still available, it's strange to see that Google hides one of the main features of Google News: grouping articles about the same topic. As Krishna Bharat, the creator of Google News, has recently said, the service "groups news articles by story, thus as long as visual structure and giving users access to diverse perspectives from around the world in one place".

Power users can try Google's keyboard shortcuts (j/k for navigating to the next/previous story, o/u for expanding/collapsing a story), but most users will hardly ever expand stories and only click the main news article.

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