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(Credit: Google)

You know that plain, stark layout you see when you go to Google's home page to run a search? Well, it's a bit more crowded now, at least on your mobile device, thanks to the inclusion of a customized news feed.

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Now rolling out to Google's home page for mobile devices, the Discover feed delivers a lineup of news stories underneath the familiar search field. By scrolling down, you can see the highlights of each story and select any items that interest you. Plus, you can hide stories that don't appeal to you, stop any future stories from particular sources, and manage the overall feed.

The new home page is a dramatic facelift from the familiar clean and plain look that Google has offered for years. Through the Discover feed, Google is trying to predict what timely topics may interest you so you don't necessarily have to search for them. Of course, these targeted news stories may concern people who feel Google knows too much about them and their interests and activity. In that case, you can disable the search giant's ability to track your web and app activity.

You don't have to do anything special to see the new Discover news feed. If it hasn't already popped up on the Google home page on your mobile device, it should appear soon. Scroll down the feed to see each story and click any you want to read in full. To manage each story as well as your feed in general, tap the three-dot icon in the upper right of a story. You now have a few choices. You can follow or unfollow the news item or source, hide the story from your feed, or indicate that you're not interested in the topic or the news source.

To control your overall feed, tap the entry to Manage interests. Here, you can follow any topics that interest you and hide any that don't strike your fancy. If you don't want Google monitoring your activity to suggest news stories, you'll have to turn off the Web & App Activity option for your Google account. To do this on your computer, make sure you're signed in with your Google account and browse to the Activity controls page. Then, just turn off the switch for Web & App Activity. Make sure you read the fine print, though, to learn the pros and cons of disabling this.

The news feed is accessible in Google's home page on mobile devices and is available in the Google app for iOS and Android. You won't find it on the home page for computers, but Google said it does plan to expand the feed to desktop browsers, according to Mashable.

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Takeaways

  1. Google is now updating its mobile home page with a customized news feed.
  2. The news feed presents stories that Google thinks will interest you but you can tweak the feed to add or eliminate specific topics and news sources.

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Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books - "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time" and "Teach Yourself VISUALLY LinkedIn."