Google Assistant introduces audio news free of sponsored content

Sheri Evans
December 9, 2018

The feature is already rolling out, but it's only available for a limited number of users right now in the United States.

Google has partnered withsome of the top news organisations and publishers to let people listen tocurated, customised and long-form news stories via its Google Assistant-enabledsmart home speakers. Users can also ask Google Assistant to go back to a previous story.

"This new experience will bring you an audio news playlist assembled in that moment, for you", Gannes said.

Google wants to make sure that Assistant is your go-to source for just about everything it possibly can be, and news delivery certainly falls in that purview.

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The company added that it has created a prototype for news organisations to record stories that can be added to the audio news feed. But obviously news sources matter, and Google has teamed up with several worldwide publications including The Hollywood Reporter, South China Morning Post, The Associated Press, and many others.

The technology giant said it had partnerships with more than a dozen news organizations to deliver an audio feed in the same manner as its smartphone news feed.

The biggest advantage from a consumer standpoint is that Google is not allowing any sponsored content in its audio news. 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. From there, longer-form content is provided to dive deeper into developning stories. 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 also inviting interested media publishers to join the project.

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