Google Assistant introduces audio news free of sponsored content

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In brief: Audio news within Google Assistant will deliver content without inundating consumers with advertisements. Arriving as an on-demand format that is more convenient than tuning in to traditional radio, there will be no need to try and figure out what happened at the beginning of a broadcast.

Radio used to be a dominant form of distributing news and entertainment, but has given way to streaming options in recent times. Google is looking to ultimately replace traditional news radio with audio news in Google Assistant.

If you still listen to broadcast radio regularly, chances are you will tune in somewhere in the middle of a song, news clip, or advertisement without any way to jump to the beginning of a segment. Google is looking to change how media is consumed with Assistant by adding a new audio news feature.

Going beyond a simple flash briefing of the day’s headlines catered to some general categories of interest, a full AI algorithm borrowed from Google News will deliver audio content that it thinks you will want to hear. After going through a few quick stories, longer-form content will be introduced to the mix. The intention is that end users will be able to listen to news during their morning routines.

All media outlets and publishers may now submit feeds to Google for inclusion in the new feature, but there are content guidelines that must be followed. 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. Longer stories are typically played after five short stories, although Google’s algorithms can sometimes vary this pattern.

The biggest advantage from a consumer standpoint is that Google is not allowing any sponsored content in its audio news. Advertisements within stories are prohibited. For publishers this might be a little unwelcome, but gaining a larger regular audience still holds value.

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