Google News launches Japanese, Korean versions

Google Inc. launched Japanese and Korean language versions of its Google News service, the company said Sept. 1. The sites are beta versions.

The Japanese site offers news from 610 sources and the Korean site news from 530, as of Sept.1. By comparison, Google’s U.S. news site says it offers news stories from 4,500 sources. As with Google’s English-language news sites, the Japanese and Korean versions list top story headlines and photos, while a menu groups news categories into local, world, economics, politics, sports, culture/entertainment, and science/technology categories.

The sites feature news in their respective languages from news sources both inside and outside of Japan and Korea. News is also integrated into the Google search results so that when users type in searches on, news headlines appear at the top of the search results page, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

Google is aiming to rapidly increase the number of news sources on the Japanese and Korean sites, according to Richard Chen, Google’s international business product manager, in a telephone interview on Wednesday. The sites include a feedback function that allows visitors to post suggestions, and publishers to request their sites to be considered as news sources.

“We are looking to publish news from as many diverse sources as possible, and that includes Japanese and Korean language sites from around the world,” Chen said.

“In fact, we have already had some feedback, and some publishers have contacted us,” he said.

Google launched its Japanese site in September 2000, and its Korean site in 2001, according to Kaori Saito, a Google spokesperson.

Half of the searches conducted on Google worldwide are in languages other than English, Chen said.

Google does not disclose its news selection policy, but the sites are designed to select news from sources that publish original articles and information on a regular basis, Chen said. As with the U.S. Google News, the Japanese and Korean versions do not link to sites that aggregate news content, he said. While Chen said that Google does not specifically detail its policy on publishing news from religious organizations, or other sites that may spread race hate or extremist point of views, he said the company checks that its news sites comply with local country laws.

In Japan, the news site can publish online articles from the country’s feisty weekly magazines, which often carry news on scandals and other stories not covered by major daily newspapers stories.

Google also offers German, Spanish, French and Italian language news sites. Chen said the company cannot say whether or not it is actively considering opening Chinese and Russian language sites, “But we do hope to launch more key products in key markets,” he said.