We are living through an audio revolution where more and more people are consuming content via audio rather than written form, thanks largely to the explosion and growing popularity of Podcasts.
Here’s the problem: how do you pull out the top few stories from hundreds of podcasts and just listen to that which would interest you?
Simply, you have Assistant do it. That’s what Google has announced today with Your News Update, all you need to do is activate the new setting in the Assistant and then ask Google “Hey Google, play me the news”. What you will hear is a mix of short snippets from various podcasts that are based on your known interests, location, user history and preferences, alongside a few ‘top news’ snippets.
This is all powered by Google’s vast machine learning capabilities that will convert the audio to text and then determine based on the content where in the audio file each snippet is and what it is about. This will then be cut together like some algorithmic news mixtape.
The feature is launching in English in the USA only for now with a planned roll out internationally in 2020. To turn on the new Your News Update head into the Assistant settings, on the new You tab (that seems to be a server-side rollout), scroll down to news and change to the new Your News.
With Google already under fire about snippets of written content around the world, Google has partnered with various news and podcasts organisations to provide the source materials for these new audio snippets. This is a real no-win for Google, by only having partner audio included they will be open to all manner of claims from bias to ‘selecting’ winners.
Had they simply scrapped the entire Podcast directory they would be accused of stealing content and removing value from the original podcast producers. The only middle ground we can see would be to reduce the3 barrier to entry for any other organisation who wants to be included in the service assuming certain community and quality standards.