Google homepage gets personalised revamp

31/07/2017

Google's homepage is undergoing the biggest overhaul in its 20 year history, as the web giant aims to offer users a more personalised experience.

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On Wednesday, Google announced it was deploying further customisation to the feed, which took over from its Google Now personalisation in December, using the company’s “advanced machine-learning algorithms”.

“You’ll spend less time and energy trying to keep up with your interests and more time enjoying and cultivating them,” Google said in its blog. “Whether you’re a pet-loving, Nietzsche-reading, sports fanatic; a hip-hop head and burgeoning brewmaster; or anything in between, your feed should fit your fancy.”

The new feed launched in the US Android and iOS apps on Wednesday, July 19, building on the former Google Now newsfeed.

It will be rolling out internationally over the next few weeks, Google said.

In the new feed, featured items will appear on “cards,” each one highlighting a topic that Google’s algorithm thinks the user will find interesting based on their history and on trends in their area and the world.

That could include such topics as sports highlights, new music, top news, engaging videos, fitness routines and photography tips.

In a bid to combat the rise of "fake news" and filter bubbles, Google said the feed will deliberately display news content from a variety of sources to provide diverse perspectives and a more holistic understanding about the topics in the feed.

In addition, some search results will include a “follow” button so users can track movies, sports teams, favorite bands, celebrities or anything else they want to keep up with.

The new homepage will also feature an “unfollow” button in case the search engine adds something to the feed that users don’t want to see.

Shashi Thakur, vice president of engineering at Google said: “You’ll see cards with things like sports highlights, top news, engaging videos, new music, stories to read and more. And now, your feed will not only be based on your interactions with Google, but also factor in what’s trending in your area and around the world.”

View an example of an old Google homepage from 2001 below:

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This is not Google's first attempt at personalisation. Google once had a personalised homepage called iGoogle, which resembled other web portals of the day and was available from May 2005 and discontinued in November 2013. But iGoogle was only shown to those who were logged in and had selected to use iGoogle, rather than the default simple search box Google homepage.

Read the official Google blog here

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