Not so long ago we had to rely on broadcasters to select our news for us. Then they would issue us with the ‘news’ at regular intervals. [Of course, by then it was often ‘olds’.] Now we can read the personal experiences of ordinary people as events happen, and we can check a News web page updated in real time. [First published April 2005.]
The world has changed a great deal in the last ten years. One area of significant change is the News. Not so long ago we had to rely on broadcasters to select our news for us, to check the details, find multiple viewpoints to give us a rounded perspective, to apply editorial filters. Then they would issue us with the ‘news’ at regular intervals via daily newspapers, hourly radio broadcasts, or nightly television shows over dinner.
Now we rely on broadcasters less and the Internet more. We can read the personal experiences of ordinary people as events happen by locating blogs, and we can check a News web page, such as Google which is updated in real time. What’s more Google uses computer programs to find news reports from some 4,500 news sources and to highlight what’s being most published.
Recently Google introduced a new service where you can even choose your own news. If you don’t care about sport, for example, just reduce it from three items to one, or remove it from your personalised front page altogether. If you’re interested in seeing news about muscular dystrophy, you can add a section specially for that, and put it at the top of the News page.
This all relies on storing a cookie on your computer, so it’s most useful if you use one computer you don’t share with unknown others. This won’t be useful if your access to the Internet is through a public library computer or an Internet Café for example.
Visit a Google News web page [links below] and click on the link “Customise this page” near the top on the right hand side.
Next click on the link to “Add a custom section”. Now enter your phrase in the Keywords text box and choose how many stories you want. You can choose between 1 and 9. Then click the Add section button.
Your special section will be added at the bottom of the News page. To move it closer to the top drag the box in the Customise section higher in the list and then click the Save layout button.
From now on when you visit that same Google News website on the same computer and using the same web browser you’ll find Top Stories at the top of the page and your customised muscular dystrophy section just below it.
This is seriously useful technology.
For less useful, but neat, technology, check out tenbyten. This scans top news sites for the top 10*10 words and photos of the hour and presents them in cool graphical way.
- Google News
- Find Blogs
Written for and reproduced from CommunityNet Aotearoa Panui, April 2005.