Mountain View: In a bid to strengthen quality journalism and provide news from trusted sources, Google Inc. announced a relaunch of its news app Google News at its annual Google I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California, on Tuesday.
CEO Sundar Pichai emphasized that the need of the hour was to support quality journalism, saying that news was foundational to the way democracies work. “People turn to Google in times of need for news so we have re-imagined the news product using AI (Artificial Intelligence) to get quality sources for news," he said.
The original Google News was built about 15 years ago, but over this period there has been a proliferation of content on the internet that makes it difficult for users to distinguish between fake news and news from reliable sources.
So the new app has been redesigned keeping three things in mind: “Users want to know what’s going on quickly, then there is a desire to go deeper on a few stories and really dig in beyond the headlines," explained Trystan Upstill, distinguished engineer, Google News engineering and product lead in a round table later in the day.
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“Finally, the new app will also help the publishing industry that is under a lot of stress because of new monetization models so we wanted to embed this within our app," explained Trystan Upstill, distinguished engineer, Google News engineering and product lead in a round table later in the day," added Upstill.
The new Google News experience begins with a “For You" section that has a briefing of five top stories Google has pulled for you. This is a mix of global headlines, local news that will be personalized based on user location, and new developments on stories you’ve been following.
The app will also have a unique visual format called newscasts which uses the latest developments in natural language to bring together a collection of articles, videos and quotes on a single topic. The new immersive experience will make it easy for people to learn more about a story.
Finally, to understand a story completely, the app has a “Full Coverage" tab which will let users see how that story is reported from a variety of sources and in multiple formats like videos and local news report. Content in “Full Coverage" is an unpersonalized view of events from a range of trusted news sources so it will be the same for everyone.
“Having a productive conversation or debate requires everyone to have access to the same information. That’s why content in Full Coverage is the same for everyone—it’s an unpersonalized view of events from a range of trusted news sources, “ said Upstill.
The app will also feature publishers in the Newsstand section, so users can follow the publishers they like or browse through new ones. There were 60 publishers that launched with the service, and more will be added in the coming weeks. Additionally, users will be able to subscribe to their favourite publishers with their Google account and thanks to the new Subscribe with Google platform (launched as a part of the Google News Initiative in March), will get access to their paid content everywhere—on all platforms and devices, on Google News, Google Search, and on publishers’ own websites.
The all-new Google News replaces Google Play Newsstand on mobile and desktop and the Google News and Weather app on mobile. It’s rolling out gradually this week and will be available to everyone on Android, iOS and the web in 127 countries by next week.
The author is at the I/O Conference in Mountain View, California as a guest of Google