For some time, you’ve been able to ask Google Assistant to give you a news update. However, Google is bringing that same feature to Google Podcasts, which seems like a weird move because Google says it will use, “new natural sounding text-to-speech voices to make the listening experience more enjoyable.”
So, just to confirm, these aren’t podcasts — they’re just headlines being read aloud by a robot. Not exactly what I’d call exciting content. To us, this should be kept inside of the Google News platform, but hey, it’s Google’s decision.
To sign yourself up for this, open the Podcasts app and navigate to the Explore tab. From here you can subscribe to Your News Update and listen to a mix of news stories based on your interests, location, user history, and preferences.
Hey Google, Play Local News
Google also announced that starting now, Assistant users can ask their digital friend to tell them local news, instead of a mixture of both local and national. Right now, national news is dominated by COVID-19, the election, plus an assortment of natural disasters that are taking place across the nation. With the aforementioned change, users can say, “Hey Google, play local news” or “Hey Google, play news about [your city],” and you’ll hear a mix of native audio and text-to-speech local news stories.
These changes are rolling out this week.