Google’s revamped News app uses machine learning to surface articles it thinks you’ll be interested in.
Google showed a revamped version of its News app during last week’s I/O conference, promising flashy AI-powered capabilities for the service. That app has landed today on iOS and Android across 127 countries, replacing the old Google Play Newsstand app.
The app leverages machine-learning algorithms to surface news, presenting these in bite-sized chunks that lead into full articles. The AI powering the app can arrange stories around subjects, group them into local events and balance breaking news into comprehensible, chronological order. The new iteration of Google News is also designed to adapt to its user – learning from your habits to serve you a better selection over time.
When you load up Google News, you’ll be met with four tabs. The first of these is “For You”, which encompasses the top five stories Google thinks you’ll be interested in reading. Below this, there’s a list of several more algorithmically selected stories Google thinks you’ll care about, as well as a few “local stories” that presumably pulls on location data.
The next tab is Headlines. Here you’ve got a list of the articles Google deems to be the biggest stories. This can be broken down into sections, as you’d expect from a traditional news site, from ‘United Kingdom’ and ‘World’ to ‘Business’, ‘Technology’ and so on. Many of the stories in this section contain clusters of articles, from different sources on the same subject, which can be swiped through.
The third tab, Favourites, is pretty self-explanatory, allowing users to pin filter topics, sources and locations they prefer without the guidance of Google’s AI. You can also save searches you’ve made, and individual stories.
Finally, Newsstand aggregates stories around specific publications. You have the big news titles here, but the section could do with more publications known for feature-length articles. Google said during I/O that News would include 1,000 magazine titles, so hopefully those publications will liven up the place soon. A key part of this final section will be the ability to subscribe to publications via the user’s Google account. In theory, this could centralise the process of paying for content, with unlocked articles being accessible on Google News and the publisher’s website.