Google announced Monday that it is testing a special part of its news app to add local COVID-19 news content,media reported. The new tests are being conducted in collaboration with local news publishers to help consumers understand the impact of the new Crown pandemic on their communities.
The new section will highlight important updates, including a timetable for community reopening, as well as updates around businesses and schools. It will also display information about local medical infrastructure, public transport and activities. There are also updates on how to help families in need. Local publishers who have signed up for the pilot include The Raleigh News and Observer, NOLA.com, CBS Chicago, Oregon Live and Gothamist. The feature is being rolled out in more than 21 u.S. regions and plans to expand to the U.S. and Canada.
Daniel Rocha, Google’s director of news engineering, wrote in a blog post:
“As cities and towns around the world respond with local policies and guidelines, timely and authoritative local news and information needs are critical. To help people navigate these complex issues, we’re highlighting the latest local guidance across our news products and bringing more content from local news publishers to let users understand how viruses affect their communities. “
Google also said it had recently made it easier to get COVID-19 local news through search after the changes were announced in April. When people look for coronavirus information in Google searches, they’ll see an existing hit news carousel, a new dedicated local news carousel that highlights timely, accurate news about their community. Google has also expanded its new carousel feature to highlight tweets from local and health authorities, making these important and up-to-date announcements easier to come by. This feature is now available in more than 30 countries.
In addition, users can now request Google Assistant to display local COVID-19 news by channel name or frequency on any device that supports Google Assistant. For example, you could say, “Hey, Google, play the news about boston’s new crown virus.” This feature is available in some U.S. markets.