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Google Assistant 'good news' feature might not be your idea of good news
- A new Google Assistant “good news” feature gives you a daily dose of positivity.
- However, the news Assistant delivers might not be your idea of “good.”
- The feature is currently only available in the United States.
To activate the feature, Google Assistant users in the United States can say, “Hey Google, tell me something good.” In response, Google Assistant will read off a news blurb about something that it thinks will make you smile, cheer you up, or otherwise help you forget about all the horrible, awful, and terrifying things happening all around us.
Check out the YouTube video below explaining the feature:
As the video explains, the news that Google Assistant shares with you is partially gleaned from Solutions Journalism Network, an organization focused on training journalists to cover what’s missing in today’s news, specifically how people are responding to problems.
I tried out the feature on my Google Home Mini, and my results were…umm…interesting. The feature works just fine in that I asked Google Assistant to “tell me something good” and the AI responded with some news blurbs. But the news I got wasn’t exactly things that all people would universally hail as “good” news:
- A study of more than 250 cities found that a key factor behind a lower crime rate is the mobilizing of citizens like block clubs.
- Brazil has 230 breast milk banks in the country.
- In Vermont, drug users are getting sent to treatment instead of prison.
Now, those three items are interesting bits of news about people attempting to solve problems, and all three I, personally, would consider “good news.” However, there are lots of people in America I am sure who would not perk up at these news stories and say, “Now that’s some good news!” The third one about drug users in Vermont, in particular, could easily be seen as very bad news for a large portion of the American population.
In other words, if you think this feature will tell you about kittens being rescued by firefighters, or children getting to play Batman for an entire day, that doesn’t appear to be the case. In Google’s eyes, “good news” is more like “news about progressive changes around the world.”
Give the feature a shot on your Google Assistant-powered device and see what kind of “good” news you receive.