The New Google Feed: What It Is And How It Works

Editor
Updated

If you use the Google App on iOS or Android, you may soon notice a stream of news stories underneath the search bar. That's the Google Feed, and, like the stories on Twitter or Facebook's timeline, it's customized to you.

But is it enough to get you to check back for new stuff every day?

The stories in my feed were, for the most part, relevant. I was immediately greeted by news about Marvel movies (big fan), tech news (I wonder why?) and gaming (also makes sense). There was also a smattering of politics and general news, but not as much as I expected considering how much I follow those topics.

How does Google Feed work?

Topics in the Feed are based on your search history and Chrome browsing history. That explains, for the most part, why many of the stories I saw were relevant to me.

I did, however, find that some stories were a few days old, which isn't helpful to someone who reads the news as voraciously as I do. I found myself actually clicking through very few articles while I scrolled.

There were also a few stories that I didn't care about. For instance, one appeared promising details about Jay-Z and Beyonce's twins' birth certificates. By pressing three dots in the right hand corner of the card, I was greeted with options to tell the app to show me less about the topic (Jay-Z), or the outlet (Entertainment Tonight). To be fair to Google, I did search for some Jay-Z lyrics a few days ago.

You can use the same menu to share a story you do like on social networks like Twitter or Facebook. It's ironic, because the Google experience is tailored, and, compared to those apps, kind of isolated. None of those stories have the social cache of something shared by a friend. I can't see using this over social apps with news stories, especially Twitter, which is up to the minute.

MORE: How to Check (and Erase) Everything Google Knows About You

Wait, didn't Google Now used to be there?

It doesn't live there anymore, and it's not called Google Now. A small tab on the bottom of the Google app called Updates will hold all of the cards that Google Now used to offer you. Your traffic and sports scores aren't gone, just hidden.

Can I turn it off?

To turn off Google Feed, tap the three vertical dots on a story.

Choose "Customize the feed" and switch off "Stories to read." It will disappear from the Google app's home screen.