Alternatives to Google News?

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jacob
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Alternatives to Google News?

Post by jacob » Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:53 am

Google News recently switched to a "minimalist baby"-format with tonnes of white space and about 1/3 of the information density of the "classic" format. Why, oh why is the internet increasingly being designed for people who type with their thumbs and mouth the words they're reading? :evil:

I've found no way to switch it back, so I'm looking for alternative aggregators. Any suggestions?

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BRUTE
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Re: Alternatives to Google News?

Post by BRUTE » Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:15 am

jacob wrote:
Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:53 am
Why, oh why is the internet increasingly being designed for people who type with their thumbs and mouth the words they're reading?
this. brute thinks jacob and he are of a very peculiar generation that grew up when the internet barely had any images or commercial content, and only nerds were able to get on it. quality-wise, it's gone downhill since then.

General Snoopy
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Re: Alternatives to Google News?

Post by General Snoopy » Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:43 am

Concur. A step backwards. Google News was my go-to for news. Now, it is less useful. Unfortunately, I have no alternatives.

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GandK
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Re: Alternatives to Google News?

Post by GandK » Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:01 pm

If RSS is an option for you, I've used feedly for years and love it.

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Re: Alternatives to Google News?

Post by jacob » Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:13 pm

This looks like a possible alternative: http://www.memeorandum.com/ then go to preferences and tick 'show discussion excerpts'. In the right sidebar, click 'extend timeline'. Or simply http://www.memeorandum.com/river Also http://mediagazer.com/ and https://www.techmeme.com/ from the same guy. Only thing that's missing is world news and other sections.

https://newslookup.com/ might also work.

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GandK
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Re: Alternatives to Google News?

Post by GandK » Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:39 pm

Alternatively, if you're reading your news on Android, try going over to the UpToDown Web site and snagging a previous version (at the bottom).

ETA: if you have your Play Store apps set to automatically update, turn that off. Otherwise it will just get overwritten with the new version again.

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Re: Alternatives to Google News?

Post by ffj » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:01 pm


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TheRedHare
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Re: Alternatives to Google News?

Post by TheRedHare » Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:34 am

BRUTE wrote:
Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:15 am
jacob wrote:
Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:53 am
Why, oh why is the internet increasingly being designed for people who type with their thumbs and mouth the words they're reading?
this. brute thinks jacob and he are of a very peculiar generation that grew up when the internet barely had any images or commercial content, and only nerds were able to get on it. quality-wise, it's gone downhill since then.
As a millennial, I have to say that I like the simplistic look google uses. I really don't like the idea of having my screen littered with text. It's like having analysis paralysis. If I want to get more info on the topic I'm interested in, I just dig a bit deeper. That all being said, I have to agree with the quality comment...things have just gone crazy when it comes to internet webpages now. I say this while typing on a IBM Model M keyboard :D

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Viktor K
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Re: Alternatives to Google News?

Post by Viktor K » Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:08 am

I have to second TheRedHare here, I found the Google News change a pleasant surprise. On the flip side, I found it unpleasantly surprising that there was no option to switch it back.

It is all a moot point since I now get my news from here anyway.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Alternatives to Google News?

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:55 am

Only if you like your news biased to the far right. If that floats your boat, you might also want to check out Breitbart.

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Re: Alternatives to Google News?

Post by jacob » Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:54 am

@Millennials - I think part of it is also that the majority of users now browse on a 5" screen that's 320x500 or something like that and click with a thumb which requires a generous amount of space around links to hit the right one. In historical perspective that resolution is about the same as it was around 1986 except more colorful and handy. See e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_Graphics_Adapter for a comparison. Monitors back then were about 11-14" in 4:3 format and weighed about the same as a small child.

In my case I use two 23" side-by-side 16:9 monitors at 1920x1080 and I click with an optical mouse. I have about 25x as much screen real-estate as a smartphone user, so for me it makes no sense to scroll down and dig deeper when I can achieve the same objective by not having to scroll and not having to dig. It's much easier to see everything at once. Visually, I have references or anchor points on the same screen. In the old format, I could see the top 5 news stories, the top 3 US news, etc. at the same time and get an idea what was trending just by looking at one screen. With the new format, it's a ton of wasted white space and all I see is a handful of headlines.

It's like being used to looking at two posters and instead being given the same information on a 50 feet long roll of colorful toilet paper while having to tear off a sheet to learn more. I suppose that's what "mobile optimized" means.

It is surprising that they didn't keep an option to stay with old format. Heavy news users in particular get quite habituated to a particular format. At least online brokers understand that. They'll let old styles stay for years because they know users will cause a shitstorm if a button suddenly moves 30px to the right or the chart design changes.

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Re: Alternatives to Google News?

Post by ffj » Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:13 am

@Gilberto
Every news source has bias, including Google which Jacob asked for an alternative from. Since he didn't specify which bias he prefers, I thought Drudge might fit the bill. I find the site refreshing personally and it's a little bit disingenuous of you to compare it to Breitbart, as Breitbart is sensationalism. All Drudge does is link to news articles written by others, mostly by mainstream outlets. Their bias is towards allowing many of these outlets to hang themselves with their own words.

Anyway, it's not my job to defend them but I thought I would throw an alternative out there. I'll read just about anyone personally, with some exceptions. I just can't get the full story otherwise, and if you want the truth of any matter, you'll have to read and listen to perspectives other than your own.

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GandK
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Re: Alternatives to Google News?

Post by GandK » Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:34 am

ffj wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:13 am
... if you want the truth of any matter, you'll have to read and listen to perspectives other than your own.
+100.

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Re: Alternatives to Google News?

Post by TheRedHare » Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:42 am

Viktor K wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:08 am
It is all a moot point since I now get my news from here anyway.
-haha, you got me.
jacob wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:54 am
It is surprising that they didn't keep an option to stay with old format. Heavy news users in particular get quite habituated to a particular format.
I agree, not having the option to decide what format you want is a pain. Google pretty much steers the ship of technology along with a few others, they are all trying to steer people towards the mobile side of computing as it's much more profitable. Also, the longer you are on their sites the better for them. It's like a battle for your time.

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Re: Alternatives to Google News?

Post by jacob » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:07 am

I do not prefer a bias. (BTW That is different from: "I prefer things without bias")

I also do not operate out of an framework where "every story has two sides and the truth is halfway in between". For example, I consider "fair and balanced"(*) to be an epistemic oxymoron because the truth is rarely found in the middle of two opinions. I'm glad they changed their slogan.

(*) I wonder where I should have prefaced that with a trigger warning or used a different and less known slogan. This wasn't a comment on a particular news source but a comment on how I juggle/understand the concepts of reality, bias, and opinion when it comes to "news".

Classic google news was useful because it served news algorithmically based on what other people were referencing and based on what you were likely to click on (based on cookies, etc.). This is the same way that google searches work. So if the majority is referencing (linking) each other and you like that group; that's what you're getting. If they're referencing each other and you like something else, you would be getting something else but not as well as if the "google rank" of those sites were higher. In other words, classic google news didn't really serve fringe stuff because only a minority was linking to it. You could also avoid ending up in a google bubble by reading a wider assortment.

What was good about classic google news is that it would present a bunch of articles about the same issue. If you were interested in different perspectives, you could then read 5 different articles about the same issue, e.g. MSNBC, Fox, CNN, AP, and Breitbart. This exercise often reveals that writers are quite selective in what they focus on, some more than others. This approach is useful because it
1) Allows you to triangulate where the factual truth is likely to be found.
2) It also reveals the blind-spots of those who only get their news from one source---because ideological blind spots are rather consistent.

This approach using a combination of algorithmic harvesting and reading wide is quite different from a curated aggregator because it also reveals the extent of lack of knowledge relative to the various political demographics. A curator does not reveal his own blind sides.

Conversely, the new google news shows very little diversity in terms of sources presented. It's therefore harder to sample and get an idea of what the Breitbart people know about this issue; what the MSNBC crowd knows; etc. Instead, google in their IMHO misguided wisdom have decided to outsource that problem to fact checkers and put cute flag icons on contested stuff. Very similar to facebook's approach. It's designed for lazy news consumers who can't be assed to do their own analysis anymore.

http://www.memeorandum.com/ which I listed does what google classic did and actually does it better in terms of depth. It lists the top issue .. and you can then click on the + to expand and see what ALL sources say including titles. You can then sample those to get an idea of other people's biases. Unfortunately, memeorandom doesn't go wide. There's no business section, world section, or science section for example.

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Viktor K
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Re: Alternatives to Google News?

Post by Viktor K » Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:31 pm

jacob wrote:
Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:07 am
What was good about classic google news is that it would present a bunch of articles about the same issue. If you were interested in different perspectives, you could then read 5 different articles about the same issue, e.g. MSNBC, Fox, CNN, AP, and Breitbart.
True.

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TheRedHare
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Re: Alternatives to Google News?

Post by TheRedHare » Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:30 pm

I just discovered igoogleportal, and it's very a very nice way of organizing tabs for certain tasks with different gadgets. For instance, I can add a 'work' tab and add a bunch of the tools I use for web testing which is really handy. I saw that you could also use this with news so it might be a convenient tool to use so that you have all your favorite sites in one area.

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Re: Alternatives to Google News?

Post by TimeTravel » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:14 am

At first look, the new Google News format irritated me. But now, I'm pretty used to the new look. Helps to have a plug in for my browser to set the proper magnification to what's most comfortable for me.

I still put topics in to search but the new format only tries to return news stories on the topic. Not general google searches. The old format, would also do general searches. Now, I have to remember to type in a different box with my browser.

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