Previously, Google Assistant was able to read brief snippets of stories from a select number of publishers.
Users also had little control over the content that was read back to them. They could utter the command “What’s the news?” and they got whatever Google Assistant decided what was important that day.
Now, users can ask Google Assistant to read news about specific topics.
“When you want to go deeper or learn more about a specific topic, ask the Assistant: “What’s the news on the women’s national soccer team?” or “What’s the latest on NASA?””
Google Assistant on smart speakers will then read excerpts from news articles about the requested topic. This command can also be utilized on smart displays, which will play relevant YouTube videos.
Users can also take advantage of Google Assistant’s news reading capabilities on Android phones and Android Auto.
Google Assistant will give credit to the name of the publication, suggest other articles to listen to, and send links to read full stories.
In order for publishers’ articles to be read by Google Assistant, they must be marked up with a new type of schema structured data that was introduced last month.
The markup allows publishers to highlight parts of news articles that are particularly well suited for text-to-speech translation. That can include entire articles or just certain sections.