The news cycle is more chaotic than ever, and the technology created to deliver it can sometimes make it feel overwhelming. To help users feel a little less pessimistic, Google Assistant will now deliver “good news” via its devices.
When users say “Hey Google, tell me something good” to Google Assistant, a series of news briefs about positive events play.
The experiment is in coordination with the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit that showcases stories showing problems can be solved. It also summarizes the stories delivered to devices.
The stories are meant to highlight events that have an actual impact for good on society, rather than feel-good stories about “unlikely animal friendships or random acts of kindness.”
Some examples provided on Google’s blog include a story about backyard beekeepers in East Detroit who are helping to boost the local economy and bolster the dying bee population. Another about Iceland’s efforts to curb teen drinking through curfews and extracurricular activities.
The new command marks a way for often-overlooked stories to surface, creating a market for ones that don’t rely on sensationalism or shock.
Good’s print magazine created a physical version somewhat like this years ago, and it continues to publish online with the tagline “Live Well. Do Good.” Then it acquired clickbait site Upworthy, an outlet that relied heavily on Facebook’s newsfeed to draw people with attention-grabbing headlines.
(Earlier this month, over two dozen staffers were laid off by Upworthy, which continues to publish despite having trouble finding its footing in the digital marketplace.)
The "good news" command may helps stories, once widely shared on Facebook. to find a new audience. It may also increase engagement for publications in the process.
Google’s blog states: “’Tell me something good’ isn’t meant to be a magic solution. But it’s an experiment worth trying because it’s good info about good work that may bring some good to your day.”