Black is the new green: Is Google News a less colourful place to be in 2013?

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Google has updated the way it displays results in Google News.

Results from searches in Google News no longer return with the site name in eye-catching emerald text.

Google used to show the site name in green under the classic blue URL link.

But now, attention-grabbing green has been replaced by a dull black tone - making the news page a more solemn place to be.

With its multicoloured logo, and general focus on the attractiveness of colour (Google spent a long time deciding on the right shade of blue to attract the most clicks in its search results), the change is somewhat at odds with other recent tweaks: it seems to remove bells and whistles from the results, rather than, as usual, adding more in.

The result is a more bland-looking news page, which places more emphasis on the colourful blue links and associated images.

Google News has been something of a journey of discovery for Google.

Launched in 2002, it was designed to provide aggregated news stories in a single place.

But Google came under criticism from news providers, who felt the search engine was trying to muscle in on their content.

In Brazil, no newspapers are listed in Google News. In France and Germany, news publishers are fighting to be removed from the results: claiming Google is infringing on their copyright by reproducing article exercepts in its results. This is despite the huge amount of traffic that can be gained from Google News searches.

Google was sued in 2005 by Agence France-Presse, which felt it infringed on copyright, and it no longer carries Associated Press content after an arrangement to display AP results ended in 2009.

The last major overhaul came in 2011, when Google changed the look of the News results page. It now allows searchers to choose which topics they value most (such as tech, science, business or sport) and which types of news sites they would like to see results from the most.

With Google's algorithm updates focussing on quality content in 2012, news and online PR have become an important SEO tactic for Internet marketing.

Getting a news website into Google News adds a level of credibility, as well as visibility - but more importantly, news content is generally trusted, providing a decent indicator for searchers that a site is worth clicking to view.

Google did rejuvenate its Google News service for tablets just before Christmas, providing new swipable search functions and a cleaner interface. The Google News site name design change, as shown in a screenshot above, appears to have been deployed on desktop searches around January 9.


* UPDATE, January 11.

It appears Google has re-introduced the green text to Google News results. They're always fiddling around, aren't they?

More on the multicoloured world of SERPs as and when we notice it.

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