Google will start allowing users to comment on the stories displayed on Google News, with these comments to be displayed next to the articles in question.

The comments system will differ from the average blog, as comments will be restricted to people that are connected to the story, so only the writer of the article or any people or organisation mentioned will be able to give their opinions.

Google has introduced the new feature as an experiment on its US Google News homepage. If the trial proves to be successful, it will be expanded to cover over countries and languages.

According to the Google News Blog:
“From bloggers to mainstream journalists, the journalists who help create the news we read every day occupy a critical place in the information age. But we’re hoping that by adding this feature, we can help enhance the news experience for readers, testing the hypothesis that a personal view can sometimes add a whole new dimension to the story.”

People who wish to comment on a story will need to email Google with contact details so that the search engine can verify that they are in some way connected to the story they want to comment on.

Google says that this process is in place just to check the identity of the person leaving the comment, and that comments will be displayed in full, without edits.

While the move is a welcome one, the way in which Google has restricted it, and the vetting process may mean that fewer people will comment on a story, and many may well just choose to go to the site which wrote the article and leave their comments there.

An interesting one to watch…