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I'm from Poland with native language set to Polish (if that matters). However, whenever I switch my Gmail's main language to English, I'm unable to reach News, because proper button is disabled:

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Can someone shed some light, what is happening and why can't I use News, when have Gmail set to non-default (?) language for my country?

BTW: I don't know, if there's any connection, but I recall, that when I set my phone to English with Android 4.2 I changed not only News and Weather interface language, but source of information as well (I was getting news and weather for United Kingdom, with no way to change this). That was fixed (if I'm not mistaken) in Android 4.3 and now I can enjoy English-based user interface in News & Weather application, while still having access to local, Polish news and weather.

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Short answer

The service buttons are dimmed when the App launcher "thinks" that the related service is not available in the corresponding assumed user preferences, like language and related country top-level domain.

Alternatives

Instead of the App launcher - Use the desktop Chrome App launcher - Use bookmarks instead of the App launcher - Use the address bar and auto-complete features of your browser

Explanation

Getting the Google services buttons dimmed not only happens with the News button in the App launcher in Gmail for users in Poland. I.E. I'm in Mexico, and when I open the App launcher in Google News in Spanish, the Maps button is dimmed.

App launcher in Google News

In Gmail, if I set the language to Spanish - Spain or Spanish - Latin America, the Maps button is dimmed but the "Noticias" (Spanish name for the News service) buttons is enabled. But if I change the the Gmail language to English, both Maps and News buttons are dimmed.

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In http://maps.google.com in Spanish the Maps button is enabled. In http://maps.google.com.mx in Spanish the Maps button is dimmed but the Noticias button is enabled.

In http://maps.google.com.mx in English the Maps and News button are dimmed.

References

Switch between Google products - Accounts Help

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