Google Assistant is Getting AI-Powered Audio News

Posted on December 6, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Mobile, Chromebook, iOS, Android, Chrome OS, Smart Home with 5 Comments

Google announced today that it is using AI to enhance the audio news capabilities of Google Assistant and Google Home.

“Imagine if you could have your own radio, one that’s available on-demand, accessible throughout your day, and brings you news about the world and your interests,” Google’s Liz Gannes writes. “Over the past year, we worked with publishers from around the world to think through the future of audio news. Together, we built a prototype that brings the artificial intelligence of Google News to the voice context of the Assistant.”

The new audio news experience creates an on-the-fly playlist for you consisting of top stories and updates you care about, and then longer-form, deep-dive content. You can summon it whenever you want, on any Assistant-powered device, including your phone. And you can ask to skip a story, go back, or stop.

Google worked with companies like American Public Media, CBS, The New York Times, Newsy, USA Today, The Washington Post, and many others on this effort. And it has built an open specification for news organizations that would like to participate going forward.

“Audio journalism requires new capabilities and workflows for both print publishers and broadcasters, whether it’s adding a sound booth or segmenting larger broadcasts into shorter stories,” Gannes adds. “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.”

Audio news will roll out on Google Assistant in the United States and in English first, and on a limited basis at first. Sounds good to me.


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Comments (5)

5 responses to “Google Assistant is Getting AI-Powered Audio News”

  1. dcdevito

    I feel like this was something they announced earlier this year, but maybe I'm wrong. In any event, I look forward to it. I just received my Lenovo Smart Display and enjoying it (but it is buggier than hell setting it up and driving my wife and I crazy).

  2. IanYates82

    I get my Google home mini to read me news in the morning.

    It starts with our ABC news (in Australia ABC is the national government-funded broadcaster). That's great.

    Then it goes to the Daily Telegraph news... Think Fox News, but in newspaper form. Several problems with that

    1. I can't seem to get Google to change my preferred ordering of things
    2. The intern they get to read the news does it in the most monotonous tone I've ever heard. I let it play the other day for my kids as an example of how not to speak
    3. It's the Daily Telegraph!

    The robot voice version of the news though is even worse. I'd rather they not do text to speech for it at the moment since it's so slow you just can't follow the thread (sentences for reading vs sentences for speaking are quite different)

  3. walterwood44

    >> ... CBS, The New York Times, Newsy, USA Today, The Washington Post ...

    Looks like they managed to hit all the liberal news sites.

  4. santosh_d9

    I want to buy it if I get lottery Prize.