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Tag Google News Article with New ‘News_keywords’ Metatag; Accessibility Features Enhancements for Google Drive; Cirque du Soleil Launches ‘Movi.Kanti.Revo’ Chrome Experiment; App Engine 1.7.2 Released

Google News‘ new “news_keywords” metatag, feature lauched today empower news writers specify a collection of terms that apply to a news article. These words don’t need to appear anywhere within the headline or body text.

Google says, that “this metatag will be one signal among many that our algorithms use to determine ranking.” “The news_keywords metatag is intended a tool — but high-quality reporting and interesting news content remain the strongest ways to put your newsroom’s work in front of Google News users.”

“Our crawler also makes use of a Google-specific metatag to help determine how to best classify your content. By implementing the news_keywords metatag you can specify which keywords are most relevant to your articles. For example, in an article about the World Cup you could add the following code to help Google News better understand the nature of your content,” Google explains:

You can learn more about getting news_keywords set up in this Help Center article.

Google News also testing a new look and feel including additional new features currently not available on the existing Google News mobile.

The new user interface looks much cleaner with new fonts and a better overall use of screen space. Googel removed the existing dropdown that lets you choose between four existing layouts (Modern, Headlines, Compact and Classic). The topics — World, Business, Sports, etc. — are across the top, rather than in a column on the left. The “realtime coverage” button, currently blue in the existing Google News mobile experience, becomes gray.

In another screenshot, when clicking the “realtime coverage” and also there’s a new three-button slider in the menu. Additionally, there’s also a “Timeline of articles” that doesn’t show up in this space in the current Google News mobile (via.

Google News mobile testing new look & features

New look Google Mobile in test

In another blog entry, Google highlighted a number of accessibility fixes in Google Calendar, including improved focus handling, keyboard access, and navigation.

First up, Google Drive added “Optical Character Recognition” technology to allow screen readers to read text in scanned PDFs and images. In addtion, Google also added “NVDA” support for screen readers.

Secondly, accessibility features in mobile apps (Gmail for Mobile and Google Drive on iOS and Android) included enhanced explore-by-touch capabilities and keyboard/trackpad navigability.

Finally, Google also create an Administrator Guide to Accessibility that explains best practices for deploying Google Apps to support users’ accessibility needs.

For more information on these specific accessibility improvements, using Google products with screen readers, visit www.google.com/accessibility, and for the full list of features, check out here.

At Google’s Big Tent event in New York, the Cirque du Soleil launched a new sensory Chrome experiment called “Movi.Kanti.Revo.”

Derived from the Esperanto words for “moving, singing and dreaming,” the “Movi.Kanti.Revo” experiment let “you follow a mysterious character through a beautiful and surreal world to encounter enchanting Cirque du Soleil performances and live an emotional journey made of love, doubts, hopes and dreams,” Google posted.

Create using traditional HTML and CSS with 3D transitions and HTML5 APIs, “you can navigate through this unique experience simply by gesturing in front of your device’s camera.”

For optimal viewing, “you’ll need to use a computer that has a camera and a browser that supports WebRTC, like Chrome. You can also access the experiment from a tablet or a mobile phone for a slightly different yet still beautiful experience,” Google added.

Check it at www.movikantirevo.com.

Google App Engine 1.7.2 released today comes with a crop of new features, improvements, and more than 130 bugs fixes.

App Admin. Paid applications can now upload more than 1GB of code and static files for their applications. Storage above the free quota of 1GB will be billed at $0.13/GB per month.

Runtimes. PyCrypto 2.6 is now fully supported as an option for third party libraries in Python 2.7. Also, Java Threads is now a fully supported feature of the Java runtime.

Task Queue Statistics allows fetching statistics and information about your task queue from within your application. “Statistics include information such as the number of tasks in a queue, how many tasks were executed in the last minute and enforced rate,” Google said.

The complete list of features for 1.7.2 can be found in the release notes.

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