Google Experiments with “Good News” Feature for Google Assistant

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

Though they haven’t been around for very long, the number of consumers who use voice-based digital assistants is growing rapidly. While it was once easy to write off services like Siri as a gimmick, it’s time for SEO marketers to think about the way these systems work and create tailored content for them. Because it’s built in with Android phones and a part of the Google Home product line, Google Assistant is a very popular digital assistant, and they recently created a feature that only delivers “Good News”.

In a time where bad news dominates the headlines, Google is testing a feature that would search for positive and uplifting stories. This makes sense from a user experience point of view. If every time you asked Google Assistant to give you the news, it told you something depressing, people wouldn’t use it as much. However, the “Good News” feature is only a test.

In a recent blog post, Google explains, “‘Tell me something good’ is a new experimental feature for Assistant users in the U.S.  that delivers your daily dose of good news. Just say “Hey Google, tell me something good” to receive a brief news summary about people who are solving problems for our communities and our world.”

Google gave some examples of what they were considering to be “Good News”.  In the same blog post they explained “This is good news like how Georgia State University coupled empathy with data to double its graduation rate and eliminate achievement gaps between white and black students, how backyard beekeepers in East Detroit are bringing back the dwindling bee population while boosting the local economy, and how Iceland curbed teen drinking with nightly curfews and coupons for kids to enroll in extracurricular activities.”

Since the world can use a little more positivity (maybe a lot more), this feature could be helpful in getting people to talk about more positive things and to focus more on the search for solutions than on online disagreements.

The idea could be a boon for content marketers as well. Uplifting stories already make for engaging content, but if they become a special target for Google Assistant it could be a good way to spread the word about a company. For example, if a company is in a partnership to help tackle a local issue like homelessness, that content would be a likely candidate to be chosen when someone in the area asked for “Good News”.

It may only be an experiment, but if it works, it could create an entirely new avenue for content marketing, one based on trying to write positive content to be picked up by Google’s “Good News”.  It’s would be easier to get picked for Good News than to be placed on the regular Google News homepage. And as was stated before, sharing news about the good things a company does in the community is always an effective way to build brand awareness.

Based solely on the quality of the idea, it’s likely that the “Good News” for Google Assistant feature will work and will become popular. People want to hear good news. It’s even likely that other digital assistants will add something similar. It’s something that will make the people using Google Assistant smile, and that’s something you want from any user experience.

Be on the lookout to hear more about this experiment from Google. It will be interesting to see if it gets a similar section on the Google News page or if they expand the feature to other areas. In the meantime, to learn more about recent changes at Google, read this article about longer text ads for Google Ads.

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