15 January 2009

Google launches Singapore edition of news

News junkies like me should be overjoyed, right? Hmmm... from what I see today on the google Singapore site http://news.google.com.sg, it's probably easier for me to rely on keyword feeds and to actually trawl through the primary sources. For global environmental news, Yahoo News is still a lot more useful. Apparently, rednano.sg considers itself a close competitor to the google Singapore site.

Google launches local edition of its news website
Ong Boon Kiat, Business Times 15 Jan 09;
GOOGLE yesterday kicked off the 56th localised edition of its news portal in Singapore, promising news from over 4,500 English- language online sources that include local media outlets.

Accessible at http://news.google.com.sg , the Singapore edition of Google News trawls the latest happenings from top-tier Singapore media like AsiaOne, The Straits Times, Channel NewsAsia, TODAY, as well as overseas ones like Reuters, Malaysia Star, The Irrawaddy News and The Asia Pacific Post.

On the website, users can scan headlines and brief snippets of stories, then, by clicking on the headline, they will to be taken to the news publisher's website where they can read the full news article.

Each news item is trailed by a row of related-links. Users can also customise the website by setting up feeds of the latest news based on their own keywords.

Speaking to the media from India on a teleconference, Google News product manager Rahul Roy Chowdhury said the relevancy of news presented is determined by an automated ranking technology that imposes over 50 criteria, including the number of local sources carrying the news, as well as the number of follow-ups to the news event.

The higher those numbers, the farther up the news is likely to be ranked on the website. He added that the Singapore edition will be updated every 15 minutes.

Google's latest service comes up against local search and directory service Rednano.sg, a joint venture between Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and Norwegian media group Schibsted ASA.

Like Google News, the latter offers news and search results tailor-made for the local Web surfer. Unlike Google News, Rednano.sg also offers free access to news archives owned by SPH.

SPH Search chief executive Paul Jansen singled out a further difference between both services: linkages between local content on rednano.sg, such as the linking of local news reports to local maps, or local food reviews to local directory listings.

Besides Singapore, Google News has also been localised for countries like Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea, the US and the UK.

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