Saturday, November 07, 2009

Techie - Customize your art news

I learned yesterday, courtesy of a tweet from Matt Cutts, head of the webspam team at Google, that it's possible to customise Google News to obtain news on very specific search terms.

If you're interested, here's what you need to know:
  • First off, you'll only be interested in this if, as I do, you use Google News to identify news you are interested. It's now possible to customise Google News by adding new sections to it and moving them around. This basically requires you to have a Google Account and you need to be logged in.
  • I started out - from the link provided by Matt - in something called the Custom Sections Directory. This lists various customised searches - and you can search this to see if what you want has already been added. You can narrow it down by type of news and category and whether it is the most popular or the most recent.
  • If the section you want doesn't exist you can create it. Just click on the blue button to 'create a custom section'.
  • The next step is to work out what the right search terms are to get the best results. You won't see any results come up until you insert search terms. 'Art' for example has too broad a use as a word to be very helpful. 'Painting' can bring you news of the death of a much loved character in the Archers. However add 'artist' to 'painting' and you start to get something a bit more sensible. Do play around with the search terms as they seem to operate independently of one another.
  • You can also limit your search to specific geographic areas - such as a country or a state in the USA - so I created a couple of new news sections
  • Finally you can decide whether or not to publish your section to the Directory - which I did
  • You can then add to your own news page any of the sections in the directory.
Here are the new sections I created which are now included in the News Directory!

Artists is about visual artists from around the world and their paintings, drawings and sculpture.

Art Markets & Economy now brings me news about how the art markets are doing around the world

Art exhibitions - UK limits my news source to UK news

You can find the sections in the directory if you use the right search term. For example 'art' will bring up the latter two sections but not the first - for that the best search term is 'artist'

One final tweak - you can switch to images view to look at your news - which can be quite interesting in terms of deciding whether or not to click on an item of news.

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