Google Assistant Gets AI-Based Audio News Feed

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. Over the past year, the tech giant worked with publishers including CNBC, Hollywood Reporter, Washington Post and the South China Morning Post, building a prototype that brings the Artificial Intelligence (AI) of Google News to the voice context of the Assistant.

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“This new experience will bring you an audio news playlist assembled at that moment, for you. It starts with a briefing of top stories and updates on topics you care about, and extends into longer-form content that dives deeper into more stories,” Google said in a statement late Thursday.

You can ask Google Assistant to skip a story, go back or stop. The prototype is now open for news organisations that would like to participate. It relies on single-topic stories — segmented out from newscasts or shows — to contribute to the audio news feed.

Audio news on Google Assistant will roll out first to a limited number of people in the US in English. The effort is part of the Google News Initiative. “Publishers from around the world who produce English-language content are welcome to submit feeds for inclusion and sign up to try the experience,” Google informed.

To help with this, the Google News Initiative provided funding to a number of news organisations, such as KQED and McClatchy, to support building out more audio capabilities for the industry as a whole.

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