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Google tests new local news product

Experimenting with local news

Google is currently testing a new local news card for its Google Now service.

Google Now, which is built into Android smartphones and available on the iPhone through the Google Search app, aims to provide users with highly relevant information. At present, it allows people to view a selection of data appropriate to their location and interests, including information on transport, travel and weather as well as personal reminders.

By choosing to include its local news experiment within Google Now, the search engine giant has the opportunity to enhance its current service, providing users with further relevant information. Also, by placing the new product within Now, Google can make sure that it is targeting the right audience should the product go live, providing users looking for local information with the latest local news.

Currently in the experimental stage, Google is conducting A/B testing to determine whether the local news card and a number of other features would work within Google Now and be of interest to the user.

Targeted to the right user

In an interview with Quartz, Johanna Wright, vice president of search and assist at Google said: “One thing we’re testing right now is a very local hyper-local news card, which is really useful – it teaches me things about my neighbourhood. […] It’s very, very targeted to you and your interests.”

Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword, said: “A number of other local news services including Guardian Block and Patch have somewhat failed to flourish. Google appears to be looking to own this space, making full use of its Google Now service to give its new experiment every chance of success.”

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