Giving into a long-time demand from users, Google News has now enabled users to totally filter out, or ‘ban’, news sources that they don’t like.
The feature, introduced without any fanfare, works using a ‘slider’ system for signed-in users, and can be accessed by clicking on the ‘gear wheel’ icon on the top right of the page (below the search box.)
Google introduced the ‘adjust sources’ option more than two years ago, but the options ranged from “show rarely” to “often” and did not include a ‘never’ option.
That led to user requests, such as this one, pleading with the search engine to let users simply ban from their feeds certain news sources they didn’t like.
“I don’t consider Fox News to be actual news, and would prefer not to receive stories they publish,” pointed out a user.
However, it is not just the ‘liberals’ who want to ban ‘conservative’ news sources.
“I just want to get my news from reliable news sources such as the Wall Street Journal or Fox News. I am not really interested in the YES WE CAN news services,” says a user on another request titled “How to Block New York Times and other bias sources?”
Most of such requests attract a fairly large amount of user attention, as evidenced by the scores of replies and ‘echoes’ they get on Google’s product forum.
Perhaps aware of the high passions associated with the “politics of news”, Google had refrained from letting users outright ban newspapers, TV channels and blogs when it introduced the ‘weightage’ facility.
Now, the slide moves all the way to “never” on the left side.
Going by the relative quiet about the change in userland, many are yet to take full advantage of the option, or even aware of the new option.
The change is also likely to slightly affect traffic to certain news sources, particularly those that are known for their “biases”. It is also not clear whether facility has been rolled out all over the world.