Top Stories, Google’s News Upgrade And What It Is

The year was 2014 and it was significant towards the end because Google changed its traditional news results section with a slightly more broader range using the “In The News” segment. This did relatively alright and was eventually adopted by users but now a few weeks ago, Google decided to shake things up and introduced a brand new modification to the existing section calling it, “Top Stories”. This new section uses card styling to provide featured stories.

Take a look at what we got when we searched for “John Glenn”. Funnily enough, Donald Trump supporters make it into the section with their moronic activities. Even Google’s intelligent algorithms are not safe from the actions of idiots!

Okay, so now that you know what Top Stories are, the question is – is there some sort of change in the way Google researchers what is newsworthy and what is not?

Let’s investigate a little…

As of yesterday, we observed that “In The News” had only featured 2% in all test results conducted over a controlled keyword set spanning 10,000 myraid topics of interest. On the other hand, Top Stories had spread over 13% of the keywords. This indicates that Google plans to phase out the former in some time.

Coming to the UI of the two designs, the card styling wins the race as it now features nearly 80% of the time whereas the horizontal stacks show up only on 20% results.

The Sources

As far as the sources for “Top Stories” goes, we noticed that some results happen to be duplicates and some actually are not news pieces to begin with. Take for instance the keyword, “buy cars”. As you can see, the top stories for this keyword contains one from Bankrate.com, which is not exactly a news piece but rather an article.

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