Google News is becoming ever-more picky about what it will display in search. A special problem is its growing lack of full-coverage in terms of timeliness (i.e. it defaults to old news after just a few timely items, when there should be many more present). A clear example: apparently no outlet in the entire world has once mentioned Staffordshire -police -dog in the past three days. Yet Bing News has the ‘missing’ news stories, and from the same search… so why doesn’t Google News?

Another major problem is its seeming inability to weed out all the ‘market reports’ pseudo-news spam. There are so many of them because I presume they’re an entry-point for scams involving sales of worthless stocks and shares. If you’re gullible enough to buy one of these reports, then you set yourself up as a ‘mark’ to be conned.

What then are the search-box alternatives to Google News at the end of 2021? There are not many, but here they are.

The best:

Bing News. This is by far the best bit of Bing. Also the best news search service for timeliness, with ‘sort by date’, and the ability to pick up and display news even from the last few minutes. Also has very good coverage of local and regional news here in the UK, able to pick up the Bogglinton-on-the-Wold Bugle class of local news-sheets and more. Though they have recently started including ‘local classified ads’ as news, which is slightly annoying. The search box accepts two -knockouts, e.g. comics digital -nft -nfts and respects these in results. A third -knockout keyword will be ignored.

Proquest. UK public library members can get free home access to this, and can get full text from it (though no pictures, which some may consider a pleasing feature). Search major newspapers and selected magazines by multiple keywords, with many facets. Speed is reasonable for something that’s not a proper search-engine. Can re-sort results by date and narrow by date using a simple slider. Does not respect -knockout words, but does appear to accept NOT as an operator. Very little timeliness, but good for trawling the last year, especially in the UK and the major corporate U.S. newspapers and magazines. In the UK it gets down to the Bogglinton-on-the-Wold Bugle level.

Knewz. A self-proclaimed “Google News competitor” from heavyweight publisher Rupert Murdoch. A few sources reported it was “killed off” in summer 2021 and Wikipedia now claims it’s dead and gone. But it obviously isn’t dead, and Knewz is still working fine for me. I had no idea it even existed until now, so the first PR team on it obviously did a very bad job. It can’t re-sort results by date, but a timeliness indication is given on results. Has a definite bias toward US sources, with the main UK corporate newspapers and BBC News seemingly the only British sources. Supposedly favours conservative sources, but curiously it can’t find last month’s headline stories from The Spectator (UK) or Reason (USA). Possibly it considers them magazines rather than news, yet it does index magazines like Esquire and Wallpaper. Has a horrible yellow colour (which I guess might be fixed with a CSS tweak), but at least there are no blaring photos on results…

NewsNow. A useful ‘at a glance’ timeline for your search terms or phrases, and can surface things that might have gone unnoticed… e.g. “Wiley buys Open Access firm Knowledge Unlatched” — who knew? Only the British book-trade journal The Bookseller and the Library Journal, it seems. Sadly NewsNow does not respect -knockout keywords, and instead adds them. Pop-ups and overlays. A search for digital comics gives only two results, confirming the feeling that the range of sources is actually rather limited. Still, the trade magazines and original press-releases it indexes may make it useful to some.

The rest:

DuckDuckGo News. You get to this via a standard search and then switch to the “News” tab. Basically, it’s identical to Bing News, though with what seems to be less sources and less timeliness. So it’s better just to use Bing News instead.

Yahoo News. Has several major problems. No ‘sort by date’. Does not respect my -knockout keywords. e.g. comics digital -nft -nfts gets a wall of stories from hucksters touting comics and NFTs, and artists warning against buying NFTs of stolen art. Still, these results are at least relatively timely.

Yandex News. Difficult to control for timeliness. Search for just one keyword, and you’re fine in terms of timeliness… but results are incredibly scattergun. Search for two keywords and you get nothing at all from 2021 and lots of way-back items. Search for a phrase in quotes (e.g. “digital comics”) and you get one story from 2019 and lots from 2010. Bizarre. Also, you need to translate.

Baidu News. Slow. Does not respect -knockout keywords (see the same problem with Yahoo, above). Appears to cover only approved Chinese sources. You need to translate.

Gab Trends. Has a strange political bias, supposedly to the right, which appears to exclude genuine conservative magazine titles and yet includes Russian propaganda outlet RT and fruitcake sites. Still, it offers search and if you know what to ignore you might get some mileage out of it, as it’s obviously capable of timely coverage.