Category Archives: Google News Blog

The official blog from the team at Google News

Project Shield: Defending Maka Angola

Rafael Marques De Morais is a journalist in Angola who runs Maka Angola, the largest independent news site in the country. Operating from Rafael’s kitchen table, Maka Angola may have a small staff, but its impact in Angola is massive. Their investigative journalism, covering topics from conflict diamonds, to wartime atrocities and crippling poverty, have given the citizens of Angola a platform where their voices can now be heard.

As a result of his coverage, Rafael has been threatened, thrown in jail and been the target of constant distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks to take Maka Angola offline. Rafael has been able to partner with Jigsaw’s Project Shield, ensuring that his site stayed online and continued its work.

The world’s news is under threat from DDoS attacks -- a simple and inexpensive way for anyone with an internet connection to take down a news organization anywhere in the world. This type of cyber attack is one of the most pernicious forms of censorship in the 21st century.

Jigsaw’s Project Shield is a free service that uses Google’s technology to protect independent news sites and human rights groups from DDoS attacks. In light of the rising threat, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced earlier this year that Shield is available to journalists, news sites and human rights organizations around the world for free.

Learn more about Rafael’s story and the work of Project Shield.

Project Shield: Defending Maka Angola

Rafael Marques De Morais is a journalist in Angola who runs Maka Angola, one of the largest independent news site in the country. Operating from Rafael’s kitchen table, Maka Angola may have a small staff, but its impact in Angola is massive. Their investigative journalism, covering topics from conflict diamonds, to wartime atrocities and crippling poverty, have given the citizens of Angola a platform where their voices can now be heard.

As a result of his coverage, Rafael has been threatened, thrown in jail and been the target of constant distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks to take Maka Angola offline. Rafael has been able to partner with Jigsaw’s Project Shield, ensuring that his site stayed online and continued its work.

The world’s news is under threat from DDoS attacks -- a simple and inexpensive way for anyone with an internet connection to take down a news organization anywhere in the world. This type of cyber attack is one of the most pernicious forms of censorship in the 21st century.

Jigsaw’s Project Shield is a free service that uses Google’s technology to protect independent news sites and human rights groups from DDoS attacks. In light of the rising threat, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced earlier this year that Shield is available to journalists, news sites and human rights organizations around the world for free.

Learn more about Project Shield here.

Labeling fact-check articles in Google News

Over the last several years, fact checking has come into its own. Led by organizations like the International Fact-Checking Network, rigorous fact checks are now conducted by more than 100 active sites, according to the Duke University Reporter’s Lab. They collectively produce many thousands of fact-checks a year, examining claims around urban legends, politics, health, and the media itself.

In the seven years since we started labeling types of articles in Google News (e.g., In-Depth, Opinion, Wikipedia), we’ve heard that many readers enjoy having easy access to a diverse range of content types. Earlier this year, we added a “Local Source” Tag to highlight local coverage of major stories. Today, we’re adding another new tag, “Fact check,” to help readers find fact checking in large news stories. You’ll see the tagged articles in the expanded story box on news.google.com and in the Google News & Weather iOS and Android apps, starting with the U.S. and the U.K.

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Google News determines whether an article might contain fact checks in part by looking for the schema.org ClaimReview markup. We also look for sites that follow the commonly accepted criteria for fact checks. Publishers who create fact-checks and would like to see it appear with the “Fact check” tag should use that markup in fact-check articles. For more information, head on over to our help center.

We’re excited to see the growth of the Fact Check community and to shine a light on its efforts to divine fact from fiction, wisdom from spin.

Celebrating AMP: A year in review

A lot can happen in a year when people unite around a common cause.  In the case of the open source Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, born out of conversations with European publishers through the Digital News Initiative, that means improving the mobile web for everyone. In a world where we rely on nearly 7 billion small screens that’s a tall order--but we’re toasting the first anniversary of AMP with progress the entire initiative can feel good about.

From day one, a key focus for AMP has been speed.  Slow loading sites are arguably one of the most frustrating things about the mobile web. Recent Google research shows that 53% of people will leave a site that fails to load in three seconds or less. That’s the worst of all worlds for users, businesses, publishers, websites and the mobile web as a whole.

For publishers, who were the first to get on board with AMP, the benefits of fast-loading content are super-tangible. In this case study, the Washington Post reported a 23% increase in mobile search users who return within 7 days.

And in this case study, one of Europe’s biggest native advertising platforms, plista, conducted its own experiment among premium publishers like n-tv.de, faz.net, abendzeitung.de, and golem.de to measure AMP’s impact on web app widget speed and profitability. Average click-through rates for publishers improved by 220%, while one saw an increase of 600% after the implementation of AMP.

To date the AMP project has been a story about momentum. This is clear in everything from the pace of releases of the open source code to the number of participants embracing the AMP format. From Pinterest to Reddit to Bing and Ebay, reports of success after adopting AMP have rolled in in recent months.

At Google, we’re doing our part too. In February, we launched AMP in the “Top Stories” section of Google Search, delivering news in a fast and reliable way. In August, we previewed linking to AMPs across the entire mobile search results page. And this month we’re excited to be rolling out that faster experience to mobile users across Europe.

Now when you search on your mobile device, you’ll see a label that indicates a page is AMP’d. This doesn’t change Search results but will show you which sites have pages that are ready to load lightning fast.

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Today AMP pages load from Google Search in less than one second on average. Beyond just saving time with fast loading pages, AMP also saves data -- AMP pages on Search use 10 times less data than the equivalent non-AMP page.

To date we have over 600 million AMP documents created by sites all over the world (232 locales and 104 languages). These pages cover news content, retail, travel, recipes, general knowledge and entertainment. That’s a lot of fast-loading pages!

The open source initiative is thriving because there is a strong community behind it getting involved in everything from working groups to contributing to the Github page with suggestions, feedback and code spec.

While the first year of the AMP Project has gotten off to a good start, there still remains a lot of work ahead.  This roadmap is a good way to stay up to date on what is happening next. We look forward to returning in a year’s time with even more awesome progress as we work together to make the web great for everyone.

To find out more about AMP, check out ampproject.org. For more product advancements from the Digital News Initiative, check out digitalnewsinitiative.com.

Introducing Google News Lite mode — faster news for slower networks

Posted by James Morehead, Product Manager, Google News


There are many parts of the world, like India, where slow 2G and 3G mobile networks are the norm. In places like this, when news breaks you’ll likely wait, and wait, and wait for articles to load on your smartphone. That’s why, starting this week, Google News and Weather for Android is introducing a new feature called Lite mode to help many of India’s 200 million smartphone users stay connected with news from around the world and in their local communities. We’ll be rolling this out to other countries in emerging markets in the coming months.


In the full (normal) mode of Google News, as seen below, we aggregate headlines, images and related content, making it fast and easy for people to find articles they care about. In the new Lite mode things look a little different — we keep the headlines and trim the rest of the components down to their essentials so that the app loads more quickly (and uses less than one-third of the data). When people read an article in Lite mode, they’ll also benefit from Google’s previously announced faster and lighter mobile web pages. By default Lite mode triggers automatically when a slower network is detected (users can also choose to control Lite mode directly).


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Lite mode is part of our overall goal to provide news that matters to people around the world. A couple of months ago we started providing local news sources to users in all Google News editions globally (71 countries and 38 languages), building on an announcement back in May of a Local Source tag that surfaces local sources for national stories.


We’re also working to bring news to people in their local languages. In India, we embarked on this effort back in 2007 with Hindi and have since expanded to include Malayalam, Tamil, Telegu and English, from more than 1,000 India-based publishers.

We plan to bring Lite mode to users in Brazil and Indonesia later this year, and more places next year.

Introducing Google News Lite mode — faster news for slower networks

There are many parts of the world, like India, where slow 2G and 3G mobile networks are the norm. In places like this, when news breaks you’ll likely wait, and wait, and wait for articles to load on your smartphone. That’s why, starting this week, Google News and Weather for Android is introducing a new feature called Lite mode to help many of India’s 200 million smartphone users stay connected with news from around the world and in their local communities. We’ll be rolling this out to other countries in emerging markets in the coming months.

In the full (normal) mode of Google News, as seen below, we aggregate headlines, images and related content, making it fast and easy for people to find articles they care about. In the new Lite mode things look a little different — we keep the headlines and trim the rest of the components down to their essentials so that the app loads more quickly (and uses less than one-third of the data). When people read an article in Lite mode, they’ll also benefit from Google’s previously announced faster and lighter mobile web pages. By default Lite mode triggers automatically when a slower network is detected (users can also choose to control Lite mode directly).

News lite

Lite mode is part of our overall goal to provide news that matters to people around the world. A couple of months ago we started providing local news sources to users in all Google News editions globally (71 countries and 38 languages), building on an announcement back in May of a Local Source tag that surfaces local sources for national stories.

We’re also working to bring news to people in their local languages. In India, we embarked on this effort back in 2007 with Hindi and have since expanded to include Malayalam, Tamil, Telegu and English, from more than 1,000 India-based publishers.

We plan to bring Lite mode to users in Brazil and Indonesia later this year, and more places next year.

Digital News Initiative: Introducing the YouTube Player for Publishers

At Google and YouTube, we’re big fans of the news industry and recognise that technology companies and news organisations are truly part of the same information ecosystem — which is why we want to play our part in the fight towards more sustainable models for news in the future.

Today, through a unique partnership between YouTube and a number of leading European news publishers, we’re launching a new video solution specifically tailored to the needs of news industry; with a goal of reducing complexity and increasing reach and revenue potential, so newsrooms can focus on what matters most — creating stories that educate and excite, engage and inspire.

We owe great thanks to the members of the Digital News Initiative who have helped to craft and customise the Player for Publishers; their feedback, questioning, and testing have helped us to build a great solution. We are delighted with the early feedback from the publishers across Europe who are already testing the solution, and we’re excited to be opening access to the tool out for all European news publishers.

"Providing a truly satisfactory video experience on the internet has always been a challenge, and it's getting increasingly complex with new use cases,” says German Frassa, Digital Product Director at Unidad Editorial, the publisher of Spanish newspapers El MundoMarca, and Expansión which is increasingly focusing on video and emerging formats. Creating engaging content is the main concern of news publishers everywhere, but in an increasingly complex marketplace, advertising, security, cross-device compatibility and content protection can put creativity on the back-burner.

In addition to Unidad Editorial and Prisa from Spain, the wave of pilot partners currently testing the Player include France’s France24The Guardian (United Kingdom), ze.tt(Germany), Dagbladet (Norway), and Oe24 (Austria).

“We’re very excited to partner with the brand that is synonymous of digital video worldwide,” says Frassa, “To make sure that along with our content, we will be delivering the best experience to all our users as well."

YouTube powers video hosting, streaming, rights management including the use ofContent ID, user analytics and monetization options for publishers, freeing up precious newsroom assets to focus on content creation, news-dissemination and the critical storytelling that we’ve come to expect from the free press.

Inspired by conversations with newsrooms across Europe, we developed the YouTube Player for Publishers, a new solution to provide a video hosting, streaming and ads management platform for publishers - powered by YouTube. Here’s how it works:

  • Better connecting audiences with news videos: The YouTube Player is available across 1000’s of devices, globally, optimised for the best possible user experience
  • Increasing control and maximising revenue: The new player gives publishers the option to control ad formats and ad load on their videos as well as giving priority sales rights across videos embedded in their own sites and applications.
  • Reducing complexity, enhancing control The Player helps publishers simplify video infrastructure and reduce cost. Over time, we’ll work to help publishers respond in an evolving landscape of user-generated content for news as well.
“The player from YouTube provides us the best of many things: A terrific product for providing video to our audience, lower operating costs, access to continuous technical innovation, ease of distribution on both our own domains and YouTube's network, and flexible monetisation models,” says Stephan Granhaug, Executive Vice President Digital in Aller Media Norway, the owner of Dagbladet.

We’re thrilled that our partners across Europe are finding early success with the Player, and are eager to extend the invitation for additional European publishers to become involved as we’re just getting started. For more information on progress from the Digital News Initiative, please visit digitalnewsinitiative.com. Publishers interested in learning more can contact us via this form.

Next Journalism School 2015 winners: Meet Korea’s next generation of data journalists

Editor’s note: We invited three participants of the Next Journalism School 2015 to share some of the highlights from their visit to the Google campus in Mountain View, California. The Next Journalism School is an annual program that was set up in 2014 to nurture our next generation of journalists and equip them with the skills they need in a digital era. If you’re studying journalism in Korea and are interested in joining the next cohort, applications open here today and close on July 24, 2016.

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We were welcomed to Google’s Mountain View campus by the warm California sunshine, Korean Googlers and of course the green Android robot. Successful news gathering and reporting today relies a lot on advanced technology and data analysis. This year, there were 60 graduates from the Next Journalism School, and three of us were fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, where we got a first-hand look at some of the latest innovations in this field.


  • Virtual reality. As 360 degree technology becomes more and more accessible, Google’s tools have made it easy to utilize VR imagery in journalism for a more immersive experience.
  • Google Trends show patterns in search across topics and over time, enabling a new form of storytelling based on real-time data. While most of us turn to Google Search for answers, it’s also a great tool to give journalists answers and insight into what is top of mind for people around the world.
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages optimizes content for mobile phones so pages load faster, making it more compelling for people to consume content on their handheld devices. Research has shown that readers will click away from a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. So AMP is incredibly important for engaging readers with news content, particularly in countries like Korea, where 48% of news is consumed on mobile--the highest in the world.

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We met with Googlers who are passionate about tools that are making data journalism more accessible. From left to right: Inhyuk Seok and Donghwi Lee (software engineers on Google Search),  Otavio Good (software engineer on Google Translate), Richard Gingras (Head of News), Brian Sullivan (Program Manager with Google Earth Outreach)

Along with getting first hand exposure to the many media tools available, the real highlight of our trip was meeting and speaking with Googlers who are passionate about the future of journalism. It was exciting to hear how Google nurtures innovation and innovative-thinking in their own workplace. It’s an environment where people are encouraged to try new things, with one guiding principle: focus on the user. We look forward to replicating a lot of this thinking as we return to our own day jobs, and bring some of the innovations that we learned about to our readers.