Since launch, Google Assistant has answered “What’s the news” by playing what are essentially short podcasts from publications like CNN or surfacing a carousel of articles on phones. Moving forward, Assistant will now leverage the recently revamped Google News to keep you up-to-date.
Assistant’s news capabilities have always been device and form factor dependent with Smart Displays adding videos and other clips from broadcasts. However, the news stories returned have always been more general with Google Home heavily leveraging audio briefings from various publishers like the BBC or the Wall Street Journal. Users have been able to personalize what publications get included in the rundown.
Now, you can ask Assistant to find and read the news about specific topics:
When you want to go deeper or learn more about a specific topic, ask the Assistant: “What’s the news on the women’s national soccer team?” or “What’s the latest on NASA?”
On Smart Displays, the screen is used to find and play relevant YouTube videos, while smart speakers like Google Home will read excerpts from news articles.
Last month, Google introduced a schema for publishers to mark up relevant sections of a news article that should be read aloud by Assistant. It notes the name of the publication in the process, suggests other articles to listen to, and can send links to full stories to your phone.
These features also work on Android phones and tablets, Assistant-enabled headphones, and Android Auto. Google is first rolling out these features in the United States and will plan a global launch based on user feedback.