Google Lets Users Customize News Site

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Web search leader Google Inc. on Thursday said it added tools to its news site that lets users customize the stories they see.

The move from Silicon Valley-based Google and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Internet unit added features to make it easier for their users to create personalized welcome pages tailored with the information they want to receive.

With the new tools, users of Google News can create customized pages on the site that gathers news stories from around the Web, the company said.

Google News users can now prioritize existing news topics such as top stories, health, entertainment or sports to change the look of the site's front page. Users also can create new categories to capture news stories that contain certain key words.

Google News is available on mobile phones and handheld devices that can read Web pages. News customization is now available only on personal computers.

Separately, Yahoo announced on Thursday that it had given its mobile users the ability to access all of their personalized My Yahoo headlines and the first part of related stories, including those that come from RSS and Atom feeds, on most mobile phones and handheld devices in the United States.

My Yahoo recently added support for open content syndication standards like Really Simple Syndication and Atom, which allow users to receive content from sources such as news organizations and blogs.

Google gets the lion's share of its revenue from Web search advertising, but does not show ads on its news site.

"It's something that we'll consider. We're not making any decisions at this time," Director of Consumer Web Products Marissa Mayer said when asked whether the company plans to add ads to its news site.

Google's news aggregation site is still in testing as the company builds out its features.

Mayer added that Google was not trying to offer a personalized home page like those from competitors, which allow users to view news or information such as horoscopes or stock quotes and quickly connect to other services such as e-mail.

"We're not trying to make this be your one-stop shop on the Web," Mayer said.

Shares of Google closed down $1.37, or 0.8 percent, to $79.98 on the Nasdaq. Yahoo shares finished off 41 cents, or 1.3 percent to $31.91 also on Nasdaq. NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at

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