Tags: google | news | app | paid | subscriptions

Google Relaunches Google News App, Adds Paid Subscriptions

Google Relaunches Google News App, Adds Paid Subscriptions
(Mohamed Ahmed Soliman | Dreamstime)

Tuesday, 08 May 2018 05:03 PM

Google announced a relaunch of its news app at its annual Google I/O developer conference in Mountain View, Calif. Tuesday.

The new app, which is now simply called Google News, will use machine learning to customize news results for consumers, and summarize news stories with a new format Google is calling newscasts.

Google (GOOG) CEO Sundar Pichai framed this relaunch as a key effort to strengthen media organizations. "In times like this, it's more important than ever to support quality journalism," he said. "It's foundational to the way democracies work."

The new Google News app will automatically curate five stories for custom-tailored to every consumer every day, and then let them dive in deeper on subjects with the help of timelines and other context from the web. The app is also integrating videos from YouTube and other sources, but Google didn't announce any publishing partners for this video integration Tuesday.

Google launched the new Google News app, which is replacing its old Google Play Newssstand app, on Android, iOS and the web in 127 countries Tuesday. The company also added in-app subscriptions to allow consumers to directly subscribe to the digital editions of select newspapers and magazines.

 Alphabet Inc.’s Google also showed off an updated virtual assistant that can call restaurants, hair salons and other businesses to check hours and make reservations, holding conversations on a user’s behalf.

The update, among features being unveiled at Google I/O, an annual event held since 2008 to share new tools and strategies with creators of Google-compatible products, comes as Facebook Inc (FB.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and other technology leaders are vying to provide artificial intelligence to manage photos, emails, schedules and more.

Keeping users in their apps would help to maintain the companies’ booming businesses of selling ads, goods or online computing services.

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai and executives said the company aimed to improve “digital well-being” for users whose lives are dominated by mobile phones and other technology.

For example, Google’s updated Android software, which runs most of the world’s mobile phones, will notify users how much they are using apps and let them set limits for themselves and family members.

Google played phone conversations between the assistant and people at a restaurant and hair salon. The assistant responded to several questions to make a hair appointment and find out when the restaurant line would be short.

The company said it would begin in summer to test the technology, called Duplex, to call businesses.

Google also is expanding the ability of the assistant to order food from restaurants including Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) and Domino’s Pizza Inc (DPZ.N). Its Maps feature would make more dining suggestions, it added.

Smart displays, which integrate Google Assistant into video screens, will go on sale from hardware makers in July, the company said.

App developers will be able to use a new software kit to integrate Google’s speech-to-text and other artificial intelligence capabilities into their own services.

Big technology companies have undergone heightened scrutiny following a decade in which smartphones, fast internet connections and social media became widely accessible.

Issues include the spread of misinformation and extremist propaganda through Facebook and Google, and scandals involving how companies use and share their data. How artificial intelligence may replace human work or be infected with human prejudices is a growing concern as well.

© 2019 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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The new app, which is now simply called Google News, will use machine learning to customize news results for consumers, and summarize news stories with a new format Google is calling newscasts.
google, news, app, paid, subscriptions
Tuesday, 08 May 2018 05:03 PM
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