While news organizations continue to worry about what Google is doing to their business, the company is far from achieving the kind of dominant position in news that it has in other areas. Six years after its start, Google News appears to be stuck in neutral and struggling to keep up with rivals.
Several online news experts say Google News has changed little, especially when compared with services like Google Maps and Gmail, which add new features at a rapid pace.
Perhaps as a result, traffic growth is sluggish. With 11.4 million users in May, Google News ranked No. 8 among news sites, far behind Yahoo News, which was No. 1 with 35.8 million visitors, according to Nielsen Online.
Its growth rate of 10 percent over the last two years is far slower than those of most other large news Web sites. In the last two years, second-ranked MSNBC.com grew by 42 percent, adding 10.4 million users. Traffic at CNN.com and nytimes.com grew even faster.
While it is clearly past the experimental stage, Google News still shows no ads, and there are no signs that Google is serious about making money from the site directly.