Maybe I'm seriously missing something and you can help me out here. I've been known to drink the Google kool aid now and then, but their stuff is so... uneven. I know, I know. It's beta. And it has been for years.

The "big news" is that you can now customize Google News and that's interesting I guess.

But I use a few browsers and several computers. Without any sort of login or registration system, though, I have to make the same customizations on each of those machines and on each browser.

What the heck?

Isn't that like having a version of My Yahoo! that just forgets your settings every time you use a new computer? That would really suck.

Other than showing off some DHTML stuff, what's the deal with offering customization without a way of making my settings really persistent?

If I'm missing the magic "login" link, please tell me where to look.


Posted by jzawodn at March 10, 2005 10:38 PM

Reader Comments
# Pooya Karimian said:

Yes, I agree. Although having both of them is fun too. Some people prefer not to register/login on web. But there's something in google webapps that catches the eyes. I really don't know what causes that but I myself never liked yahoo's first page design after 97/98. Or myYahoo! compared to Google News, or Yahoo! Photos compared to flickr. Some special kind of simplicity is sometimes needed.

on March 10, 2005 10:58 PM
# Gopalarathnam said:

And the DHTML stuff which they (G) have did, has been done by and Excite! long time back. Its not even new.

on March 10, 2005 11:03 PM
# Michael Moncur said:

I've suspected for a few months now that Google's main growth focus is "showing off some DHTML stuff."

It does give me something to write about from time to time, so I'm not complaining.

on March 10, 2005 11:05 PM
# amit agarwal said:

That's the reason I called it MyGoogle!

on March 11, 2005 12:03 AM
# Atul Chitnis said:

Ahhh, I see we are getting closer to this:

on March 11, 2005 12:17 AM
# Murali said:

Scroll real down to a link that says "Share your customized news with a friend"

Ta da ! No login ... & yet the same customisation can be used on multiple PCs / Browsers

on March 11, 2005 12:38 AM
# Ubaldo said:

It's hard to justify registration for simply rearranging news. Some people might set it up at work and won't like it when they realize that home pc doesn’t remember a thing. However, think of how disappointing will be to for a user to register and logging to just rearrange news.

At loquo I’ve taken the same approach in a newly added feature called ‘my shortlist’. In essence, user could “stash away” listings for follow up later (similar to ‘my starred topics’ in google groups). I decided to store the data as a cookie and live with the consequences of users loosing the info if they switch pcs) Forcing a registration and creating a ‘my loquo’ for this simple personalization thing isn’t worth it. I think users understand the trade offs

on March 11, 2005 04:22 AM
# Mike Wills said:

Google allows you to "share" your homepage so that is how you can get it for more than one location, but it isn't a URL you would want to memorize. I have done this and it works good. I do agree a login would be prime. If you are using a public terminal, you wouldn't want to customize that, you would want to login and view it. Not the less, it is nice that they finally started to enhance it some.

on March 11, 2005 07:07 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


Good to hear.


The "Share your customized news with a friend" link is clearly targeted at sharing, *no* as a way to save my settings for myself. Otherwise they'd have labeled it differently, no? The Google UED folks aren't stupid.

on March 11, 2005 08:15 AM
# EricB said:

In my opinion Google News is the crippled bastard child of Google's design team. It's always felt very jagged. Every few months I decide to go back and give it another shot and the same thing always happens. My eyes try to find a focal point on the page, fail and go blurry. My brain has a quick siezure and I click back over to my RSS feeds on My! Yahoo. There really is no flow to the page at all.

on March 11, 2005 08:50 AM
# Jack said:

I agree with the first comment - GoogleNews design has some sort of clean simplicity. layout is pretty ugly IMHO.

As for customization being tied down to a machine - yes, sort of lame. The problem I have with Google is when are they going to come out with a "Google ID" (like Yahoo! ID) where Google can tie the different logins (Gmail, Blogger, Hello, News customization). I have to think that Google is working on this???

on March 11, 2005 10:13 AM
# Anthony Rubin said:

I rather have the ability to prioritize certain news sources. I hate looking for a certain story and having to hunt for a Reuters or AP article instead of a bunch of questionable sources.

on March 11, 2005 11:26 AM
# Mike said:

Shouldn't the cursor default to the Search News box on Goggle news? That really bugs me.

on March 11, 2005 12:42 PM
# Michael Chastain said:

The customization URL is a bummer... but that's what TinyURL is for. This is a brand new feature--I would expect that at some point you will be able to retrieve your customized news feeds via Google login.

As for Google News perpetual beta state and lack of "enhancements" I suspect that Google has no real intentions of developing a news portal. I think the site is more of a testing bed for new technology as anything. Perhaps allowing customization signals a new path however.

on March 11, 2005 01:06 PM
# Security advisor for Yahoo said:

Thats BS. The Google News portal is very much a part of Google's future.

The reason the beta period has been prolonged is that to tweak the news bot to define the correct news for the correct news sources for the correct category. It would be irresponsible to take the news portal out of beta before the news bot has been fully tested through the phases of news events. Having the wrong headlines in the wrong place would only add to political confusion world wide. World news is a sensitive area, and Google has to get it right, or people could get upset.

on March 11, 2005 02:15 PM
# John Dowdell said:

"Other than showing off some DHTML stuff, what's the deal with offering customization without a way of making my settings really persistent?"

I don't know, but it IS sorta fun to make your own headline pages.... ;-)

on March 11, 2005 04:29 PM
# Senthil said:

One good thing they can do is tie with the Google Accounts login and still do not explicitly display it.
But if you are used to a single computer like in office or at work,this feature is a wonder!
I can track my favourite sections, I was wondering why they did not have this before? This is far more useful than news alert feature!

on March 12, 2005 05:47 AM
# amit agarwal said:

JD - liked your customized page.


on March 14, 2005 01:02 AM
# RichardH said:

Outside "planet geek" users have been known only to check Google News on their work PC and not to realize or care if the settings didn't propagate. Perhaps people want to see biz/tech oriented news at work and entertainment/offbeat news at home.

Heck, outside planet geek haven't users have been known just to use the one PC.

Perhaps a case of missing the forest for the trees?

A case of a Google shortcoming that costs a lot to implement but makes little difference?

on March 14, 2005 04:51 AM
# RichardH said:

Could Google's cookie personalization shortcut be a case of 'cognitive dissonance' for those of us rationalizing the effort we spent creating personalization systems 'the hard way'?

Is all the work behind a personalization login necessary, could the resources be better applied elsewhere?

on March 14, 2005 06:15 AM
# Andrew said:

What, you mean you don't carry your cookies with you from browser to browser, machine to machine?


Hey, why not? Makes for a pretty good "anonymous registration" scheme. Same as "click here to register, we given you a magic number you use to login again" without the need to click here.

Maybe cookie sharing should be built in to browsers...

on March 18, 2005 05:20 AM
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. My current, past, or previous employers are not responsible for what I write here, the comments left by others, or the photos I may share. If you have questions, please contact me. Also, I am not a journalist or reporter. Don't "pitch" me.


Privacy: I do not share or publish the email addresses or IP addresses of anyone posting a comment here without consent. However, I do reserve the right to remove comments that are spammy, off-topic, or otherwise unsuitable based on my comment policy. In a few cases, I may leave spammy comments but remove any URLs they contain.