Besides the Material redesign last year, Google News also added a new “Community Updates” section to highlight local info and publications. Google is now expanding its focus on local news with a new service called Bulletin.
This new Google product allows local users to submit stories about their community that otherwise might not get shared. One example shows a resident submitting a story about a winter storm flooding a local river and shutting down a road. Besides text and tags, users can attach images and videos to stories.
Bulletin is an app for contributing hyperlocal stories about your community, for your community, right from your phone. Bulletin makes it effortless to put a spotlight on inspiring stories that aren’t being told.
These public posts are blog-like in nature, with users able to share stories on social media through a link, but also have immense discoverability potential given how they can be surfaced in Google Search.
To decrease the barrier to usage, Google built a free, lightweight mobile app and emphasizes that “no setup is required.”
It’s not clear whether Google is editing these stories, but given the possibility of abuse, it’s likely that there will be some sort of curation effort by the company before articles get widely seen.
The service appears to be related to Google News as “community guidelines” for Bulletin are a part of the News support page. Meanwhile, competitors in this space include neighborhood-based social network Nextdoor.
There is a Google Post (via Reddit) about the service, but the official site is not yet live. It is launching in “early access” and will only be available in two U.S. cities: Nashville, Tennessee and Oakland, California.