Google Assistant is Getting AI-Powered Audio News

Posted on December 6, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Chrome OS, Chromebook, iOS, Mobile, 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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