With Discover, Google wants to “help you uncover fresh and interesting content about things that matter to you.” Something appears to have recently changed with Google Discover as more than a few users are increasingly being served old news and more evergreen articles.
Over the past week or so, Google Discover users have been complaining about getting served news that is days old. For some, the entire feed is populated this way with no content that’s been published in the past few hours appearing. Refreshing the feed from the Google app does not load newer stories. Others are still getting up-to-date articles but have also noticed an uptick in older content.
Since September of 2018, Discover has been surfacing evergreen “articles and videos that aren’t new to the web, but are new to you.” This usually takes the form of longer pieces, reviews, guides, and explainers.
For example, when you’re planning your next trip, Discover might show an article with the best places to eat or sights to see. Suddenly, a travel article published three months ago is timely for you.
Over the past two years, I have anecdotally noticed that people are still surprised whenever Discover surfaces old articles. In recent weeks, more and more users appear to be seeing evergreen content and older news. It’s a rather stark change from getting stories posted in the last few hours, if not minutes.
This recent uproar, as encapsulated by one highly upvoted Reddit thread, reflects how most people use Discover to stay up-to-date on their interests, as well as current events, and thus do not like how the feed has “stopped showing recent news.” The change could just be Google experimenting, though rather widely, with what appears in Discover. It’s not clear whether this is part of a broader mandate shift for the feed.