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Google wants to replace your radio as an audio news source

The Verge logo The Verge 3 days ago Shannon Liao
a wooden table © Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

You’ll soon be able to listen to an audio news playlist curated by Google Assistant to inform you on the topics you’re interested in. Google’s latest Assistant feature uses artificial intelligence to help make these custom news bundles, and it’s available today for a limited number of users.

The audio news playlist will be assembled in the moments after you request one. It starts with a quick briefing of current top stories and any small updates on relevant topics. You’re also able to ask to hear longer stories that are two to 15 minutes long. Stories that are longer than 15 minutes are rare. So far, no music or ads are allowed within the stories, and publications can’t use profanity either, in accordance with FCC guidelines, according to Google.

Google is comparing the new feature to having an always-available radio to read you the news. It partnered with publishers around the world, including The Associated Press, South China Morning Post, and The Hollywood Reporter. The feature was first discussed back in May when Google detailed how it was folding its Newsstand into Google News to create a singular and comprehensive destination for reading about current events and staying informed.

The new feature is available now to a few users in the US, and a broader rollout will come later on. Google is also leaving an open invite to other English-language publications to apply and become part of the service.

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