- Google, the search company that is estimated to have a 41% share of U.S. digital advertising revenues, introduced a personal news feed in its mobile app for Android and iOS, according to a blog post. Articles are chosen based on search history and topics that users choose to follow.
- As a result, the company is retiring Google Now, the predictive search feature that displayed personalized weather, traffic, sports and other information. That content was moved to a secondary tab called "updates." The space underneath the search bar now shows a stream of cards based on a mobile user's interests. That means articles may be months old, because Google is working to prioritize relevance.
- Google isn't putting ads into the feed for now, The Verge reported, while speculating that the company likely will seek to monetize the service eventually. Videos also won't play in the feed, which means users will have to use another app or watch a mobile-web version of the video.
Google's news feed is intended to lure back mobile users who have abandoned the app for other services like Facebook or Twitter in order to get a quick read-through of news and information. In addition, voice-activated digital assistants like Apple's Siri, Amazon Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana are built into other mobile devices, eliminating the need to search with Google.
Google is getting into a crowded space for feeds, and will need a fairly robust, seamless experience to win over Facebook and Twitter's collective billions of users, along with fans of standalone apps from content providers like newspapers, wire services, magazines, aggregators and broadcasters. The search giant wants to differentiate its service by prioritizing relevance, playing upon its strength in retrieving specialized content going back months and years.
The Google social media-like news feed also comes just as Amazon is rolling out Spark, an in-app feature that lets people shop for products they see in a news feed. Spark has a greater emphasis on user-generated content and social interaction, like Pinterest or Instagram. These factors positions Spark as the e-commerce giant's attempt to take advantage of the convergence between content and commerce online, with purchases by younger consumers, in particular, strongly influenced by social media.