Google News to place greater focus on local content

The Mountain View, Calif. search company is debuting new functionality that will allow users to drill down to localized news.

While the inclusion of local news is something that has already existed news sites, the way Google plans to do it is unique. Instead of using actual people to separate the news, the site automates the process.

Google News creates local sites for any city, state, or country by both looking at the byline as well as by analysis of the story's text to glean what it is about and where it pertains to.

By typing a city name or zip code into the news search box, it displays local news for that region. Right now the localization features are only available in English. However, there are plans to offer it in other languages "soon."

But some aren't so impressed by the service. Search Engine Watch said a search for "90210" brought up more information up on the now-defunct TV show Beverly Hills 90210 than actual news from the region.

A search for "Beverly Hills" didn't work out too well either.

"Google Local News search may not be canceled like the 90210 TV series but it's not ready for prime time," opined Kevin Heisler.

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