Google Now “hyper-local news” card in limited internal beta testing, report says

July 31, 2013
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Google Now

A new report says that Google is currently testing a new Google Now card that will supposedly deliver local news to users.

According to Quartz, the beta test of this new Google Now feature is a closed one, happening only inside the company for the time being. The publication has apparently learned about its existence during an interview with Google’s VP Johanna Wright.

Here’s what Wright said on the matter:

“One thing we’re testing right now is a very local hyper-local news card,” says Wright. “Which is really useful—it teaches me things about my neighborhood. For example, I found out Miss Mexico came to my son’s school, I saw that [the local] Chipotle was giving out burritos, and someone was stabbed in the park near my house. It’s very, very targeted to you and your interests.”

Wright said that Google’s new local news product is only live in an “experimental version.” Typically, she adds, “We do A/B tests [of versions of Google web services], trying to get feedback from people in the market.”

Google Now is currently available on Android handsets that run at least Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, but also on the iPhone via Google’s iOS Search app. In the future, Google Now will apparently also be available on Chrome OS and via the Chrome browser.

The service leverages Google’s advanced search technology to display relevant information to the user in various cards that appear on the screen based on what the service learns about the user – here’s what cards are currently available.

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