Google launches new web tools for news feeds

Google has introduced a Sitemap protocol and new webmaster tools for Google News that will give webmasters more control over what content they receive from the service.

News Sitemaps tell Google exactly which articles to crawl for inclusion in Google News. The News Sitemaps XML definition lets webmasters specify a publication date and time for each article and to set keywords for each article that determine placement of the articles into the relevant sections on Google News.

Webmasters can also access crawl errors, which tell them if there were any problems crawling the articles in your News Sitemaps as well as articles that Google News reaches through its normal crawl.

The new tools also let webmasters view all the articles that Google News is listing.

Nathan Stoll, product manager, Google News, said that the new tools reflect feedback from contributing websites.

'Wherever I go, one thing publishers tell me consistently is that they want greater control and visibility into the process by which their content gets included in Google News,' he said. 'It's been a long-time goal of ours to offer flexibility to publishers as we help them grow their online publications.'

More information can be found in the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog.

Sitemaps is an XML-based format developed by Google for submitting information about websites to search engines; these include Yahoo Search and Windows Live Search, who announced last week that they would be supporting the technology and be involved in future development.