Google adds comments voice to news stories

Google News allows subjects to comment on their own stories

If you're a regular browser of Google News , don't be surprised to see a new feature nestling amid the neatly packaged news aggregations - comments added by readers.

Google being Google, the comment feature isn't of the straightforward type associated with the likes of YouTube ("You suck" - "No, you suck"). Rather, the company is experimenting with allowing people or organisations featured in particular news stories to add their personal perspective on the subject at hand.

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Manual verification

The comments will be published in full without editing or censorship thanks to a labour-intensive system wherein Google staff verify the authenticity of the person submitting a comment. This could include checking that person's contact details independently or even calling them.

According to the Google News Blog , the idea is to turn the site from a simple list of news items to a well-moderated forum for discussion.

The team behind the move wrote, "We're hoping that by adding this feature, we can help enhance the news experience for readers, testing the hypothesis that - whether they're penguin researchers or presidential candidates - a personal view can sometimes add a whole new dimension to the story."

Although the trial is currently only on the US Google News site, there's little doubt that - if it proves successful - it will be expanded to include other countries and languages.