Since 2016, Google Assistant has let you ask for and hear the news. Users previously had to manually curate publications and sources, but a new “Your News Update” feature handles that work for you.
This “smarter way to listen to the news hosted by the Google Assistant” generates a hyper-personalized listening playlist every time you say “Hey Google, play me the news” on phones, Home, and Smart Displays.
Your News Update includes a “mix of short news stories chosen in that moment based on your interests, location, user history, and preferences, as well as the top news stories out there.” Following headline stories is longer-form content that provides deep dives.
If you’re a Steelers fan who follows the stock market and lives in Chicago, for example, you might hear a story about the latest “L” construction, an analysis of last Thursday’s Steelers game and a market update, in addition to the latest national headlines.
Once rolled out, visiting News in Assistant settings will let you select a “News playlist format.” The old manually curated “News briefing” option is still available, but Your News Update is now ranked first: “A mix of top headlines and stories based on your interests that refreshes every time you play it.”
Your News Update is rolling out now in English to the United States. Google plans to expand internationally next year.
Over the past two years, Google worked with publishers around the world and names 42 participating partners, including Politico, Reuters, AP, and the NBA. Today’s feature builds on an ability introduced in 2018 to ask for news about specific topics, like “Hey Google, what’s the latest news about Brexit?”
At Google, we saw an opportunity to help move digital audio forward by focusing on audio news. By analyzing what’s being said within a given audio file, we can apply our understanding around what text articles are about, how news stories evolve, how topics link together and what might be most relevant to a particular user’s interests.
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