Google launched a new feature in Chrome Dev for Android recently that pushes article recommendations to the web browser's New Tab page.
Article recommendations seem to become a new trend. Opera displays them on the browser's New Tab Page, Microsoft does the same in Edge, and Mozilla has been playing around with various forms of recommendations since 2014.
The organization tests a feature called Activity Stream currently that highlights pages of interest to the user.
Google's integration in Chrome Dev is powered by Google Now, the company's assistant service that knows more about you than your most trusted friend.
The feature has two requirements. First, you need to run Chrome Dev on Android. It is likely that Google will bring the feature to other channels eventually, but for now it is limited to the Dev channel.
Second, and that is probably the bigger hurdle, recommendations work only if you are signed in to Chrome. The feature is linked to a Google account. While not explained explicitly, it seems to base its recommendations on your actions while you are using Chrome or Google Now.
The content snippets are not shown when you open the New Tab page. You need to swipe up to bring up recent bookmarks, and below that the section called "articles for you".
These are snippets of posts published on websites. Each snippet lists the title of the article, the first ten or so words of it, a small article image, the publication, and the time or date it was published.
The system seems to use the usual mainstream sources for it. I cannot say if Ghacks or other less-mainstream resources are available there are well, but it does not look that way currently.
Please note that the feature is enabled automatically in Chrome Dev if you are signed in to your Google account.
Update: Starting with Google Chrome 58 for Android, the flag that lets you customize and turn off content suggestions on the browser's new tab page has changed. You need to do the following now to turn them off, or change the source:
The description of the flag reads:
If enabled, the list of content suggestions on the New Tab Page (see #enable-ntp-snippets) will contain server-side suggestions (e.g. articles for you). Furthermore, it allows to override the source used to retrieve these server-side suggestions.
Below is the method that works for Chrome 57 and older:
You may disable it however if you don't have any use for it. To turn the "articles for you" feature off, do the following:
Tip: You may also change the content suggestion server instead. Doing so switches the feature from being backed by Google Now to other means, for instance by only taking visited sites into consideration, or using Google Now but without personalization.
Now You: What's your take on article recommendation services?
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.