Google goes local with mobile location-based news

Google News website screenshot

Photo by Spencer E Holtaway (flickr.com/photos/spencereholtaway) some rights reserved

The regular requests for my location have so far been the most annoying feature of Google’s otherwise useful iPhone app.

Now this hitherto unexplained – and constant – request starts to make (a little) sense as Google pushes into local, location-based news for mobiles.

News Near You is a new feature on Google’s mobile app that analyses both the content of a story and the location of the source to find news about particular cities and their surrounding area.

It’s launching first in the US for iPhone and Android users and they’ll be able to access the service by visiting news.google.com on their phone’s browser.

Although unlikely to be welcomed by an already beleaguered local newspaper industry, it’s a further signal of the advance of location-based services – and if they’re not already available, travel information and local ‘classified’ ads must be the step for ‘location’.

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