When we are looking for the latest news it is always helpful to get a list of all the day’s main headlines. Instead of being limited to just one broadcaster the Google Assistant will now provide a tailor-made news playlist of all the top stories.
The feature, Your News Updates, will look at stories from across multiple news outlets and select them according to your interests and location. Audio is a great way of conveying the news but the technology has been a lot slower to adapt than other media such as text or video.
This looks set to change. Google Assistant now allows the user to ask specific questions for example, ‘what is the latest news about Brexit’? And will respond with relevant news items.
The company has been busy behind the scenes developing its new service looking at providing focused clips rather than long podcasts or news items to make it more user-friendly now that time is at a premium for most people.
By dealing with news specific to the user it means that the audio clips are more relevant. For instance, it can draw on your interests and then access more news sources to give you all the latest stories, then follow up the headlines with slightly longer more in-depth pieces.
There is an emphasis on your location too so that news items that you here relate to places that you know and care about.
The recommendations for news stories will likely get more refined as the AI gets more of an insight into your personal preferences. If you skip an item, for example, it will pick up on this and offer more appealing stories.
It may eventually be tailored for context, for example, providing traffic reports when you are in the car. It could even assess traffic, estimate the length of time you have in the car before you reach your destination and provide a story or other listening to fill that time.
Your News Update is currently available in the USA in English, but there are plans to expand the service globally in 2020.