This never happens to me. Until now. While writing my earlier piece, Google News Tests Editors’ Picks, I went to Google News on the off-chance that I’d be able to see the “limited test” of editors’ picks. Nope. As expected.
But totally unexpected was that I’ve been opted-in to a test of a completely new Google News home page design. The new layout changes the current two-column, grid-style layout with a wider main column and smaller sidebar-style column on the right. It looks more like a blog, frankly.
Here’s a look at what you should see now on news.google.com if you’re not part of the test…
… and here’s what the test I see looks like:
(you can click either image to see a larger version)
Each story has the same “star” option that you find on the regular Google News. But there’s a new dropdown menu with several sharing options: Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, Google Reader, and e-mail.
The “News for you” section in the middle offers customization options, including the choice to view news stories in raw list format or in sections, which groups together stories based on categories (Business, World, Sports, etc.). Story snippets and clusters are only shown by default on the three top stories, but those appear when your mouse hovers over stories that are further down the page.
The only other big difference I can see is the inclusion of story/topic links in the left-side navigation, below each news category.
Based on this thread in the Google News Help Forum, it looks like this test began in late May.
Postscript: Google has launched this new home page design for all users. See our story, Google News Has Major Redesign: Personalization, Sharing & “News Stream” Offered, for details.