Getting news in the morning has long been my most used feature on Google Assistant. Asking Home “what’s in the news” brings up a quick flash briefing from a handful of selected outlets. It’s quick, it’s easy and it helps fill me in on the way out the door.
Google’s long promised to improve on this feature, offering an on-demand take on news radio. Over the past year or so, it’s been working with a handful of publishers — including The Associated Press, Hollywood Reporter, Universo Online and the South China Morning Post — to create news playlists. The audio feed adapts to the time of day and the listener’s preference, using a similar AI model to the one that currently powers Google News.
“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,” the company writes in a blog post. “At any point in your day when you want to listen to the latest news—as a morning wake-up, during your commute, or while jogging—the Google Assistant will be ready with new stories and updates to the ones you’ve already heard.”
Like the current offering, users can ask Google to skip or repeat certain stories.
In addition to its existing partnerships, the company has created a template for news outlets to record stories that can be plugged into the feed. There’s also the new Google News Initiative, which is designed to help outlets create more audio offerings.
The feature is starting to roll out now to users in the U.S.
Update: Google has reached out to note that the product is still in the early stages, so don’t exact to see a wide release of the final version just yet.