Technology has done a lot for music. We aren’t confined to listening to our own music playlists and radio stations. Many music services create playlists of songs based on what the services know we like. Google is doing he same with news with improvements it’s making to Your News Update.
Curated News Playlist
“Your News Update” is an existing news aggregation service of Google’s that started last fall and is available to Android users. It pulls together news clips from various outlets and pulls them into one feed, such as Flipboard or Apple News. However, it does more than that for you: it also reads them out loud for you.
Changes Google has made to the Your News Update service include making it a more fluid listening experience with a more human voice. The intention is for it to flow more easily like you are listening to a podcast instead of just random stories stitched together. The goal is to create a 90-minute mix of radio, podcast snippets and text-to-speech article translations, but again, in a fluid experience.
Your individual news playlist will include stories from what Google already knows about your interests, whether that’s local news, your favorite sports teams, current events, technology, etc. It searches for keywords and topics that match your interests.
Google has partnered with several news outlets to provide this news, although outlets that aren’t participating can alternatively provide lines of code in their articles that will allow Google to analyze the text and have it included.
Instead of the stories being stitched together with a computer-sounding voice, it will be more of a “newscaster voice.”
“It’s a bunch of stories, but we don’t want it to feel like we’re just pulling stuff out of a hat,” said Google conversation designer Hannah McBride. “So we have this voice that is sort of connecting it all. It introduces each topic and, in some cases, will even be really specific about what the story is about. It will guide you through the experience.”
It sounds like this offering could be similar to Alexa’s Flash Briefing that pulls together the current stories on news outlets that you follows, except it won’t require you to follow services, as it’s going to be curated to what Google already knows about you.
Your News Update was initially released as a feature of Google Assistant. It’s now found in Google’s Podcasts app on Android, with promises for it to be available on iOS soon.
Currently, Your News Update is available in the U.S., but Google is said to be looking to expand it internationally, but there hasn’t been a date mentioned for this, and it’s not even promised as “soon,” unlike the iOS option.
Google has been making other changes to services as well. Read on to learn about the Google Docs Update that includes improved braille integration.