A small change has been made to the BBC News homepage which is actually a bit irritating.
Cosmetically, all they have done is remove a very small button, but that button had a function that belied its size – namely the ability to customise which version of the BBC News website you get.
The BBC News offered a UK focused news service, or an international focused front page. Being vastly more interested in “real news” than I am in who won Pop Idol last week – I set the system to display primarily international news.
Naturally, if I wanted UK news, then the option was there, and for everyone else, the international news was also still there.
You could just customise your preferences – but not anymore.
In their refreshingly open blog, the BBC explained that technical problems were one reason for the removal of the service, which is semi-tolerable.
However, the other reason given is that for some reason, if I had set the front page to show international news, then later clicked on a video news item that was limited to UK based visitors – I would be blocked from viewing the video.
That bit doesn’t make any sense though.
Any reputable internet firm works out where you are in the world based on the IP address your browser/ISP uses – not some arbitary switch the user selects on the front page of the website. Quite why the BBC is claiming that UK residents who customised their home page could then not view video clips seems a bit odd.
Anyhow, it is only the front page that has changed, so while irritating, it is not a total disaster.