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Google brings AI audio news feed narration to Assistant for smart speakers

Google has partnered with some of the top news organisations and publishers to let people listen to curated, customised and long-form news stories via its Google Assistant-enabled smart home speakers.

Over the past year, the tech giant worked with publishers including CNBC, Hollywood Reporter, Washington Post and the South China Morning Post, building a prototype that brings the Artificial Intelligence (AI) of Google News to the voice context of the Assistant.

“This new experience will bring you an audio news playlist assembled in that moment, for you. It starts with a briefing of top stories and updates on topics you care about, and extends into longer-form content that dives deeper into more stories,” Google said in a statement late Thursday.

Also read: Google Assistant app on iOS backed with Siri shortcuts

You can ask Google Assistant to skip a story, go back or stop.

The prototype is now open for news organisations that would like to participate. It relies on single-topic stories — segmented out from newscasts or shows — to contribute to the audio news feed.

Audio news on Google Assistant will roll out first to a limited number of people in the US in English. The effort is part of the Google News Initiative.

“Publishers from around the world who produce English-language content are welcome to submit feeds for inclusion and sign up to try the experience,” Google informed.

To help with this, the Google News Initiative provided funding to a number of news organisations, such as KQED and McClatchy, to support building out more audio capabilities for the industry as a whole.

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Featured image by Thomas Kolnowski


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