Right after the Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News announcements, Google also launched a new platform that aims to help journalists around the world to be connected to programs, data and other resources to aid in their reporting. Google News Lab — which shows off the new effort of Google to empower innovation at the intersection of technology and media — is a three-pronged initiative aimed at making the company’s powerful analytical tools, data and curatorial expertise available to journalists around the world.
The aforementioned tools — such as Google Alerts, YouTube or Image Search — aren’t exactly new, but Google has created a Material Design-inspired web portal to highlight and demonstrate their potential usage in the course of reporting. It will also showcase Google’s numerous efforts surrounding new media partnerships and citizen reporting.
News Lab with Google divides the search giant’s products down into four focus areas: research, report, distribute and optimize. Each offers step-by-step introductions to the bevy of editorial resources available to writers, such as breaking down how to embed Google Maps in articles or how to rely on Google Alerts to follow breaking stories. There are case studies highlighting news organizations which have used Google’s offerings particularly inventively — the New York Times, for instance, mapped the number of Americans without health insurance using data gathered from the United States Census Bureau and Google Maps.
Among the many tools is Google Trends, a visualization engine for Google queries and the second foundational pillar of Google’s News Lab program. It received an overhaul last week — its biggest expansion since 2012 — that Google says provides journalists with more targeted data. Trends now feature real-time data, a homepage with a list of trending stories across the Web, better coverage for niche topics in smaller geographies, and a daily selection of interesting data sets from Google’s News Lab editorial team.