And you thought that Google News would always be in beta. (-: Well, that's no longer the case. As of today, approximently 1219 days (29,256 hours) after the Google News that we know today launched in beta, Google has gone ahead and removed the beta monniker from all English langauge editions of the service. Editions of Google News in other languages remain in beta.
Currently, 22 regional editions of Google News in 10 languages are available.
According to a Google spokesperson, adding the new personalization features that went live on Friday night were the last things Google wanted to offer before taking the service out of beta. For a look at these new personalization options take a look at this post: Google News Launches Recommendation Service, List of Popular Stories Also Now Available.
The publicly announced total of English language news sources aggregated via News.google.com remains remains listed at 4500 on the Google News home page but as this "about page" points out that it's more than 4,500 English-language news sources. Precisely how many more? Google isn't saying. Topix.net claims they crawl more than 12,000 mainstream sources and 15,000 blogs and also offer more than 360,000 topical pages. RocketNews offers content from more than 16,000 news sources and even more feeds. NewsNow aggregates content from about 22,000 mainstream news and blog sources.
Words from the Developer
The developer of Google News, Krishna Bahrat, has shared his thoughts on the Google Blog.
A Bit of History
Google News (as we know it today) officially debuted on September 23, 2002 as a "revamp" of the news site the were already providing (here's SearchDay's initial overview) and since then many have wondered when, if ever, it would leave beta. Well, they don't need to wonder anymore.