Audio news on the Google Assistant has started to roll out to a "limited number of people" in the U.S., with publishers from around the world who produce English-language content invited to sign up and submit feeds for inclusion.
According to the announcement, users will be able to use their voices to skip stories they aren't interested in or repeat ones they want to hear again.
To help with this, the Google News Initiative provided funding to a number of news organisations, suchas KQED and McClatchy, to support building out more audio capabilities for the industry as a whole. In a new post on its blog, Google has just announced that it built a prototype that brings the AI (artificial intelligence) of Google News to Assistant. Google Assistant Audio News Feed gives a briefing of top stories and updates on topics for each user based on their interests. However, the content is usually taken from television or radio casts. A limited number of US users will get access to the audio news initially; the company didn't say when it will expand the availability to other users.
The company is launching the revamped audio news function to a limited number of Google Assistant users in the USA before a wider roll out. News organizations are given access to an open specification that enables them to contribute single-topic news stories to the news feed.
The biggest advantage from a consumer standpoint is that Google is not allowing any sponsored content in its audio news. From there, longer-form content is provided to dive deeper into developning stories. For now, a story is expected to be less than two minutes for short-format entries and between two and 15 minutes for medium-format listings.