San Francisco: Google has partnered with some of the top news organisations and publishers to let people listen to curated, customised and long-form news stories via its Google Assistant-enabled smart home speakers. The prototype relies on single-topic stories-segmented out from newscasts or shows-to contribute to the audio news feed.
Going beyond a simple flash briefing of the day's headlines catered to some general categories of interest, a full AI algorithm borrowed from Google News will deliver audio content that it thinks you will want to hear.
Apparently you'll be able to skip news stories - but it's really the immediacy of these stories that will make the difference. "To help with this, the Google News Initiative provided funding to a number of news organizations to support building out more audio capabilities for the industry as a whole". In a blog post, the company said it's been working with over a dozen news organisations including The New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, Hollywood Reporter, the South China Morning Post and Billboard to deliver an audio news feed that adapts to listener habits and preferences as well as the time of day. However, the content is usually taken from television or radio casts.
The new feature is only available to a limited number of users in the USA, and an worldwide release will come later on.
To improve and build out this audio news experience, we've built an open specification, available for news organizations that would like to participate. From there, longer-form content is provided to dive deeper into developning stories.
Right now, the new audio news feature is limited to a select few users, but Google will be expanding it to more Assistant users in the future. Medium-format stories, on the other hand, can last from 2 to 15 minutes. The company is also inviting interested media publishers to join the project.