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Who has the best news service of them all?

Annie Wakefield
Digital Marketing Manager
22 May 2008

It’s the biggest medium for up to date news, it’s the ultimate source of information, but which search engine offers the best news features? Which of the four biggest search engines provide the best service with the most useful (not necessarily the most) extra features? Let’s see shall we?

I will break the services down into 3 categories – Content, Extra Features and Look. The most important feature of any news site is the content, the site is only as relevant as its content. Extra features will look at some of the goodies that the sites add to their news results to make it easier to relate to, e.g. maps, photographs, videos, links to other pages, etc. Finally I will with no proper design experience (except for some magazine and newspaper layout) I will establish which site reads the easiest.

As an example of a news search I have used a topic that has been everywhere online since it happened, the Sichuan earthquake.

Google News

GoogleContent -  Google’s content on its news pages is very thorough and up to date. There is a variety of different stories from various news sources around the web. One negative aspect of the site is that you need to click through to other sites online to find out pretty basic information – who, what, why, where and how (WWWWH).

Extra Features – On the actually news search results page – not much. Some tiny images, links to archived stories and blogs.

Look – Pretty much par for the course for Google, it is simple, uncluttered and easy on the eyes with external links that are easy to find and they are clear about what you will get when following them.

Rick’s Rating : 7/10

Yahoo!

Yahoo
Content
– By scanning only the top 5 results the WWWWH are generally answered and I know a little more about the story – so that is a good start, although the blurbs could be a little more in depth.

Extra Features – Yahoo! offer browsers the option of seeing videos and pictures of the story at the very top of the search results and I personally think it is very cool. It also suggests other related searches that might help you learn even more about the story.

Look – It looks great. It reads easily, a good blend of images and text. You don’t feel bombarded.

Rick’s Rating : 7/10

Live Search

Live_search9
Content
-  Possibly the best so far. More  detail in their blurbs and  without clicking through to any other sites you can learn a lot about the story. Handy. But sponsored sites at the top of the SERP? Sichuan at Amazon? Mmmm…

Extra Features – None. Not an image in sight, no videos, no related searches, not on the search results page anyways, there are links to all of these services. Minimalism is still very popular.

Look – It looks cold and sterile, it is a wall of text with some links to stories scattered around the web. Unfortunately I am giving my opinion of the SERP’s and pages that you need to click through to and Live Searches news results just doesn’t appeal to me.

Rick’s Rating
: 5/10

Ask

Ask Content
- Very similiar to Yahoo! in its SERP’s content offering answering a couple of the WWWWH.

Extra Features – Hands down the pick of the lot. It has such a variety of different features to help you learn more about the story. A category sorting function, images, videos and the Big Factor Average rating. Big Factor is great because it shows read
ers the relevancy of each individual link by tracking what users are clicking through to including four sections called Breaking ( showing timeliness and freshness of a story), Impact ( Measures the story’s impact across the web), Media (finds number of quality images and other media related to the story) and Discussion (Measures levels of discussion on the topic across the web). I really like these features it helps you establish which story to click through on and gives you more help to choose the most relevant news source.

Look
– Ask is a little cluttered, there is a lot going on on the SERP, but it is all neat and tidy. You don’t feel overwhelmed at all and it really does look great.

Rick’s Rating : 8/10

So after all of that I think that Ask provides not only the best features on the news SERP, but their content is good and the site looks great. So well done ask…What will I compare next time, well visit the blog to find out. Oh and last but not least, let me know what you think…Did I get it all wrong?

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