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Google News has risen to widespread usage by utilizing its search technology to aggregate current stories quickly. While this approach worked well for big news items, it was relatively weak for smaller items pertaining only to certain areas. This is why Google’s announcement today that local news searches will be just as easy to perform as big ticket news items is important.
Now by simply typing in either a city name or zip code into the Google News search box, you will give a cluster of stories only pertaining to that area. While Google is quick to note that it is not the first to do this – Topix has been mentioned by a few people as being a leader in this field – its approach to scan every word of every story could quickly make it the most comprehensive local aggregator.
The algorithm-based order will be in place as well. Top news stories for a particular area will be noted higher up on the page than lower-level stories.
As Doug Caverly points out, this could eliminate the need to visit the often poorly-designed, clunky local news sites to get the latest information about your area. At the same time, this new service could significantly increase traffic to individual pages on those sites if they are reporting on the local news.
While this service is only available for the time being in English as it is tested, the plan appears to be to roll this out all over the world eventually which may make Google into the best local newsstand worldwide.