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Google Assistant provides a smarter way to listen to the news you care about

The audio format is more alive than ever before. Though video might have briefly knocked down the radio star, radio came back swinging after an ’80s-movie-style training montage. Between podcasts, news, and audiobooks, the digital audio format is more popular than it has ever been. It finds its fan base in people that are too busy to sit down and watch videos — those with long commutes, rushed mornings, and intense exercise routines. Google has joined the fray with a new way for you to listen to the news each day.

The “Your News Update” is available today. Just update your Google Assistant to access this feature and then say, “Hey, Google, play me the news.” This will work on a Google Home device or on a smartphone with Google Assistant. Once you ask for the news, Google Assistant will provide a series of short, snappy news stories tailored specificially for you based on your location, user history, preferences, and interests. It also considers the top news stories of any given moment, so you don’t have to worry about a major news story going unheard just because your interests lie mostly elsewhere.

The longer you listen to the news, the more long-form the content becomes. While the initial stories you’ll hear are short and to the point, the stories that come after that will dive more deeply into your specific interests. Google Assistant provides breaks in between the stories and acts as a radio host, telling you stories are coming up next and who the provider is.

The “Your News Update” feature is an evolution on previous iterations of News on Assistant. Google first introduced the feature in 2016, and then later updated the functionality in 2018 that allowed users to ask questions on specific topics.

Google continues to improve its Assistant platform to make it more intuitive and user-friendly, particularly as the rivalry between Google and Amazon heats up. The two giants dominate the smart assistant market, but Apple continues to try and improve Siri while other potential competitors, such as Huawei, vie for a foothold in the American market. Small quality-of-life features might be the factors that set the market leaders apart from the competition.

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