Google News has announced a Facebook application that allows users to specify custom topics to receive news about from within Facebook. When you add the application, you can choose from a predefined set up topics (that Google News calls “news sections”) or you can enter keywords. This seems to work the same way as a Google Alert, but you receive the headline and article snippet to your Facebook profile page rather than as an email. You can also see the news articles your friends receive and can share stories with them.
It looks like they did a stealth launch on October 12, but just announced it this afternoon.
When Danny Sullivan talked to Marissa Mayer of Google about Facebook back in August, she said that Facebook was her favorite non-Google service. Is this the beginning of a wave of Google-produced Facebook applications? It does seem to be the first time Google has teseted the Facebook applications waters. Several other Google-related Facebook applications exist that enable you to interact with Google products such as Calendar, Talk, and Reader (there’s even a non-official Google News application) within Facebook, but they weren’t created by Google.
Back in August, a developer who works for Google created a Facebook application that stopped working shortly after launch, amidst debate over whether it was an official application, a hoax, or a personal project by someone who just happened to work at Google.
Additional discussion at Techmeme.