Google Is Putting An Algorithmic Audio News Feed On Its Assistant

Google is adding an algorithmically determined news feed to its Google Assistant via a new service it’s calling “Your News Update.” The Verge reports: Google uses the information it has learned about you over the years alongside your location to custom-build a series of short news updates from partners from which it has licensed audio. It hopes to foster an ecosystem it’s calling “the audio web,” according to Liz Gannes, Google’s product manager of audio news. These aren’t podcasts so much as news bites, similar to the hourly news updates that can be heard on the radio. Your News Update replaces the current way of getting news updates from Assistant, which consists of a straightforward list of news sources. With that system, you have to choose which sources you want and what order they’re played in.

Before, you would have had to ask for the news and hear the hourly update from NPR, then The Daily from The New York Times, then CNN (or whichever news sources you chose). Now, you will hear individual, topic-specific news bites from Google’s news partners. And instead of it cycling hourly or daily, it will play based on those topics. Google says that once Your News Update goes live, users will be able to choose between either the new system or the original one.

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