Welcome to our first post on this new Google News Blog! You may be asking why there's another Google blog - and why the focus on Google News? Believe it or not, the answer is not just because we've got a free account from Blogger. Let me explain.

There are a lot of blogs by teams here that try to shed as much light as possible on updates and the thinking behind our services. And as a company, we spend a large amount of time working with news publishers, but mainly from the advertising side of things. But on the Google News team, our focus is on the news and people who read it. In fact, we think there are two kinds of people interested in Google News: those newshounds who use it to gather and read the news -- and news publishers. We hope publishers will learn a bit more about what Google News readers like and expect, and readers will learn a bit more about all the great content publishers churn out every day.

So why a blog? As a company, we don't issue many press releases, and we're not keen to send tons of email to thousands of in-boxes. A blog lets us reach you quickly and directly, and be a bit more informal. We hope it generates cross-links and new ideas. If you want to engage in discussion, visit our Google News U2U group.

We'll be posting about new features, giving you tips for getting the most out of Google News, and responding to questions. We'll also tackle the issues regarding how Google News works, why we do things the way we do and, of course, what we can do better. Just about every member of the Google News team will be posting, so when you read about a new feature, you'll be getting it from the person who built it.

At the end of the day, we hope we can demystify Google News a bit and give you as much insight as possible into how it works. But we're also counting on you to help let us know how we can improve it going forward.