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Google News gets its own Facebook app

Google News has a Facebook app, but is it worth using?

Google's got a new Facebook app for its Google News service. It's about as simple as it gets. It mirrors the top stories found on Google News within a canvas in Facebook and instead of just opening up the page in an iframe, stories have been reskinned and optimized to fit within Facebook's somewhat narrow space constraints. Clicking a story link takes you to its original page, and there are quick links to let you share a story on your profile or to someone else via e-mail.

The real killer app here is personalization--you can pick from pre-existing topics, or pick your own based on keywords. For example, typing in "Web 2.0" adds a feed of stories related to the Internet at large, and more recently, last week's Web 2.0 Summit. Each topic gets its own smattering of stories, which unfortunately cannot be rearranged--but you can minimize a folder of stories like you can any old Facebook app module.

The social aspect of Google News is pretty basic. If other friends are using the service you'll see what they've decided to share in the "stories from friends" tab. You can also put a box on your profile that keeps track of shared stories, and lists the last few, along with mirroring them in your news minifeed.

Interestingly enough, there was already an unofficial Google News application for Facebook released a few months ago that's powered by an Israeli startup called Dapper. In testing, I found the official one to be a little faster, and handle multiple search queries in a more user-friendly manner. If you're a Google news junkie, you really can't beat Google's own front page experience, but if you're one of those folks who likes convergence, this app is definitely worth a look.

Get up to speed on world events, or whatever topics you choose, with Google's News app for Facebook. CNET Networks