Google has revealed that it will make it easier for users to find high-quality local audio news, filling a category largely ignored by existing podcasts and other audio programs. This effort will involve the company’s Assistant and Podcasts products, Google revealed this week, stating that it will deliver ‘Your News Update’ to its Podcasts app. As well, Google Assistant users will get better access to local audio news.
Podcasts, as with audiobooks, are quite popular at the moment, enabling users to consume content in the midst of life’s other demands, including while commuting or working. There are many news podcasts to choose from, but they nearly completely revolve only around national and world news, as well as specific news topics; rarely can one find a podcast with local news, particularly for smaller, more rural regions.
To fill this void, Google says that it will use natural-sounding text-to-speech voices to present personalized local news as audio for listeners. Google Podcasts users can find this content in the ‘Your News Update’ section, the same title used for the audio news playlist Google Assistant received last fall.
Google says that users can subscribe to Your News Update in Podcasts by heading into the Explore tab. The content is composed of short stories that were selected at the moment of use; they’re personalized based on the user’s own listening history, location, and other relevant details. This is obviously more convenient than using Google Assistant because users can easily switch to other podcast content, as well.
For those who prefer Google Assistant, however, the company says users can ask the AI to play local news, or news about a specific city. This will present users with a variety of short content using both existing audio stories and text-to-speech. The content can be played over Google Nest and Home speakers.