Google’s new feed may know you better than you know yourself

Google's feed mines what it knows about users to curate the content it thinks they'll like most.

In a post bookended by Dr. Suess quotes, Google announced a new smart feed experience in the Google app, which it says “[makes] it easier than ever to discover, explore and stay connected to what matters to you—even when you don’t have a query in mind."

Google relies on Suess to convey the uniqueness of each individual user and his or her interests in a way that may deflect somewhat from all of the data it has to inform the feed it touts as the “one place to stay in the know about exactly what matters to you."

The feed initially launched in December, but Google says it has since advanced its machine learning algorithms to better anticipate what’s interesting and important to each user.

“You’ll see cards with things like sports highlights, top news, engaging videos, new music, stories to read and more,” Google said. “And now, your feed will not only be based on your interactions with Google, but also factor in what’s trending in your area and around the world. The more you use Google, the better your feed will be.”

What’s more, Google said a user’s personalized feed will also “reflect your interest level for various topics—for example, if you’re a photography enthusiast but just casually interested in fitness, your feed will show that."

Users are also able to follow the topics they are interested in directly from search results.

“A quick tap of the follow button and you’ll start getting updates and stories about that topic in your feed,” Google added.

To provide information from multiple perspectives, news stories may have viewpoints from a variety of sources, as well as other related information and articles. And, when available, Google says users will be able to fact check and see other relevant information to help get a better understanding about the topics in their feeds.

The new feed experience is available in the Google app for Android and iOS today (July 19) in the US and internationally “in the next couple of weeks."

It’s a good example of the curious relationship between data, privacy and utility, but, naturally, Google is spinning it as a positive:

“With these updates to the feed, it’s easier than ever to stay in the know about exactly the things you care about and see more content to inform, inspire and entertain you. You’ll spend less time and energy trying to keep up with your interests and more time enjoying and cultivating them,” Google said. “Whether you’re a pet-loving, Nietzsche-reading, sports fanatic; a hip-hop head and burgeoning brewmaster; or anything in between, your feed should fit your fancy.”

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