​Google is using machine learning to create a news feed from your searches

Google has rolled out a new version of its news feed that's based on the user's interests.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Follow favorite topics in the Google Search app


Google has updated its mobile app with a more personalized news feed and a new button to follow topics from search results.

Google introduced a news feed in December which offered a series of cards containing news that reflects previous searches as well as local weather, sports, TV schedules, movies trailers, and other content.

Today's update introduces the "smart feed" which makes it easier for users to follow topics of interest and discover new content without necessarily typing out a search query.

Also, the feed will now be influenced by trending subjects in the user's area and around the world. Google's machine learning algorithms also determine how interested a person is in different topics and adjusts the feed to reflect that. As with the previous version, users are able to customize the feed in settings.

Google is also introducing a new "follow" button that appears in a header banner alongside some results, allowing users to follow favorite movies, sport teams, music, and public figures.

The feed will also no longer be just a list of different stories in cards. Similar to recent changes to Google News, the mobile app will now offer more context beneath key stories in a carousel with links to related stories, opinion pieces and fact-checking options. Like Facebook, Google has been gradually updating its products to combat fake news.

Google announced the new feed at an event in San Francisco on Tuesday.

As reported by ZDNet's sister site CNET, the feed is determined by Google's search algorithms and information from Maps, Gmail, and YouTube searches. This way, if the user is planning a trip to a specific location, the feed can display articles new or old that are relevant to the destination.

"The key issue here is this feed is really about your interests," Ben Gomes, vice president of engineering for Google search said. "It's not really about what your friends are interested in, which is what other feeds might be."

Notably, the feed won't display certain topics, such as porn or hate speech, and won't attempt to reflect the user's religion or sexual orientation.

The new feed is rolling out to in the US on Google app for Android, the Pixel Launcher, and iOS. It will arrive internationally in the next couple of weeks.

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