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Site Review: Google News

Site URL:  News.Google.com      

This is one in a series of site reviews that take a look at how major news Web sites can be used in the classroom. See also reviews of HuffingtonPost.com, CNN.com, AOL.com, MSN.com, MSNBC.com, FoxNews.com and Yahoo.com.

Content:  Google News does not produce any news. Instead, the site aggregates news from hundreds of other sites. This gives Google News a tremendous depth of content across all major news areas.

Design:  The design is very simple, and it can be easily customized so visitors can focus on the news they care about. The default setting places “top news stories” at the top of the page, but you could easily set your personal page to lead with entertainment news or in the case of classroom use, a particular subject area.

Google News has such a simple design that it basically has no design. It's simply a collection of headlines, teaser paragraphs and links. The site does have intuitive left-hand navigation buttons, and there is no learning curve when it comes to finding your way around.

Review:  Because Google News uses a secret formula for deciding which stories get placed where, story choice can sometimes be odd. Though the most important stories of the day are usually in the lead position, you might get them from less credible sources. For example, a story on oil prices might come from a local newspaper, and the Washington Post or New York Times version of the same story may be nowhere to be found.

Bottom Line:  Google News’ lack of editors makes this a site that's not always the best for student use; kids may lack the background knowledge to judge whether particular stories are credible sources. Teachers, however, will find this an easy place to find multiple top-quality stories on any news subject.

 

Article by Daniel B. Kline, EducationWorld Contributing Editor
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