People are able to get their news from a lot of sources nowadays, cable TV, their social media, Google Assistant, podcasts, etc. But most of these are probably geared more towards national and international news, especially the latter ones. Finding local news sources can sometimes be a bit hard. Google says they want to bring you “new, intelligent audio news experiences”. They’ve started doing this a bit with Google Assistant through the Your News Update and now they’re bringing it to Google Podcasts as well.
Your News Update is a smart audio news playlist that they introduced to Google Assistant last year. Now they’re also making it available on the Google Podcasts app for those who prefer to receive their news in a podcast format. The Explore tab on the app has the subscription button to this and once you subscribe, you’ll be able to listen to short news stories that are read to you with “natural-sounding” text to speech voices made available by Google. The stories are chosen based on your location, your interests, your user history, and your preferences.
Behind the scenes, Google says they are analyzing what’s said in an audio file and then apply machine learning techniques to determine whether the story matches a person’s interest. This lets them create playlists of stories that are not just up to date but also customized for each user that uses the Your News update. You will be able to access both local and national news from various news publishers and sources, giving you a better picture of the news around you, not just the ones you come across on your social media or on the TV channel that’s always open in your house.
Meanwhile, Google has brought more improvements to how you get your local news. You already have it in the Your News Update but now they’re making it easier for users to access it through Google Assistant. To be able to hear a mix of local and national news, just say “Hey Google, play local news” or “Hey Google, play news about (insert your city’s name)”. This feature uses new text-to-speech voices that are more natural-sounding so you’ll get a sort-of newscaster reading out loud your news stories to you.
Both the Your News Update on Google Podcasts and accessing local news on Google Assistant seem to be available in the U.S. only. No news yet if they’ll eventually be expanding this to other countries and territories as well.