Google released a personalised news feed for phones this week, showing a stream of content based on people’s location, search histories and topics they’ve selected to follow.
It’s a significant new update that represents a very different tack for Google. The feed is designed to make the user aware they’re on Google, and to proactively give them information without them explicitly seeking it. Traditionally search has served users information only when they seek it out.
But — and here’s the latest rub — Google is having a little trouble with rolling it out on devices that run the company’s very own Android mobile operating system.
The reason for the hiccup has to do with how the feed works on Android home screens. The feed is part of the Google app, which is accessed as a home screen on many Android devices by swiping right. But that swipe won’t load this new news feed on many Android devices just yet.
“The rollout to devices where the feed is launched from the home screen will take slightly longer due to technical aspects of the deep integration to the system,” a Google spokesperson said, clarifying that this means devices where you swipe right.
On iPhones, the Google app is accessed by clicking its icon, no swipe needed.
This is ironic. A buzzy new feature from Google is easier to access on a competitor’s devices than Google’s own phones. (Although Google’s Pixel, which the company manufactures itself, seems to be getting the update just fine.)
The new feed feature was only announced this week, but this small slowdown in rollout highlights a recurring problem for Google.
Android dominates the global cell phone market, running on more than 85 percent of phones globally, but Google has trouble ensuring updates and latest features make their way to the majority of devices in a timely fashion. This is because it’s often up to the carriers and manufacturers Google works with to upgrade Android phones’ systems — a problem Apple, which manufactures all its own phones, does not have.