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article imageNew Google News app uses AI in real-time

By Lisa Cumming     May 10, 2018 in Technology
The Google I/O conference this year had some pretty big announcements, one of the biggest having to do with Google News.
Following the Google News initiative that launched this March, Google News is getting a massive upgrade. It was created 15 years ago simply to organize news articles so users could see a wide variety of sources on a topic and hasn't really seen a major upgrade since.
In a blog post, Trystan Upstill, head of News Product and Engineering at Google, announced that the company will now be applying artificial intelligence to "...find the best of human intelligence — the great reporting done by journalists around the globe."
To do this, Google News will now have AI analyze news and information in real-time and organize it into "storylines."
This approach means Google News understands the people, places and things involved in a story as it evolves, and connects how they relate to one another. At its core, this technology lets us synthesize information and put it together in a way that helps you make sense of what’s happening, and what the impact or reaction has been.
Personalized and AI-powered
One of the ways they're doing this is through a feature called "For You" in the app. In "For You," users will get a five-story briefing — curated by Google — which will be "a mix of the most important headlines, local news and the latest developments on the topics you’re interested in."
According to Upstill, the more users interact with and use the app, the better it gets.
Another important feature are the "newscasts". Newscasts are ways for people to get their news bite-sized. Using developments in natural language understanding, Google distills what's going on in the world to something the user can access quickly in the form of a collection of articles, videos and quotes.
Unfiltered news to drive conversations
If you've gone through one of these newscasts and want to learn more about the topic, Google is also experimenting with a feature called "Full Coverage." This is where users go to get the full — and here's to hoping — unbiased story. Facebook, take note.
In the blog post, Upstill expands on this and writes: "Having a productive conversation or debate requires everyone to have access to the same information. That’s why content in Full Coverage is the same for everyone—it’s an unpersonalized view of events from a range of trusted news sources."
This is what they're calling an "unfiltered view of news from around the world."
These features are being described as giving people a more "holistic" view of a story.
A news app to combat fake news and human AI bias
The new Google News replaces the Google Play Newsstand and Google News & Weather apps on mobile and desktop. It has already started rolling out starting today and "will be available to everyone on Android, iOS and the web in 127 countries by next week."
As more companies are looking to AI and machine learning to solve the problem of fake news, the problem of human bias in AI and the limits of AI's current abilities is important to stay conscious of.
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