Topix has made a name by aggregating tens of thousands of local news sources and publishing them online (they also like citizen journalists). It was only a matter of time before Google (GOOG) expanded their news product to compete more directly with Topix. That time has come - today Google added an option for customized local news to its Google News service.
The localization option is now available on news.google.com, but does not seem to have been rolled out to country specific news portals as yet. Using the service is as simple as entering your post/ zip code or location into the Local News option box that now appears automatically when you visit Google News.
The feature pulls news stories based on your location, and are presented as a sub-section on the main Google News page, and have a sidebar menu entry and dedicated page as well.
According to Google:
As always, results will be clustered with multiple sources on a story. The top stories for a given area will be at the top of your results. Our article rankings will also take into account a publication’s location so we can promote all the local sources for each story.
Google News attracts a far larger audience than Topix - 47 million/month v. just 6.2 million for Topix (Comscore, December 2007 worldwide audience), but until now they have not provided good local news coverage. Topix now has some serious competition.