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Google's New Tools To Make Local News More Relevant Than Ever
Local news is imperative for building a healthy community. One of the very recent examples is the spread of the COVID-19 virus, where different communities were impacted. Local news made sure people knew what necessary actions were to be taken.
Keeping that in mind, Google has introduced new tools and features that will likely be helpful for both readers and reporters. These new features are said to boost local news outlets, as a broad number of people are seeking local news than ever before.
Pushing Local News Alongside National Publications
The most highlighted feature in the list is a carousel that displays local news in response to search queries. The feature has been launched across the globe in all languages. Initially, the company rolled out this feature to provide local info for COVID-19 searches, but it seems Google has expanded to other topics such as sports, local government, and much more.
The company claims to have improved its systems so authoritative local news sources show up more often alongside national publications in the Top Stories section. This upgrade will make sure people see authoritative local news when they're looking for news, helping the news and the source reach more readers.
"This improvement ensures people will see authoritative local stories when they're searching for news, helping both the brand and the content of news publishers reach more people," Google said.
News Narrowed Down To Subtopics
Moreover, Google has refined its ability to understand topics beyond broad areas such as sports to narrow subtopics like high school football. When coupled with Google's location signal, this feature offers more relevant news for the topics readers are looking for.
"For example, if you're in Detroit and search for football, we'll now show you results for local high school and college teams, rather than just showing you results for, say, the professional team," Google said.
Upgraded Data Tools For Reporters
Apart from bringing consumer-centric features, the company has also introduced a slew of new tools for reporters. First is the Census Mapper project - it is a map that can be incorporated in stories to show Census data at the national, state, and county levels. The tool was created as part of the 2020 Census Co-op, backed by the Google News Initiative.
The tool is also capable of showing data at a local level, displaying the shifts in populations as time passes. The company has also improved its Common Knowledge Project that will enable reporters to look for local data.
The new features might come in handy for many local reporters and news outlets that are running out of business due to most ad revenue flowing towards giants like Google and Facebook. However, both firms have pumped in funds to boost local journalism, but that still hasn't shown a huge impact on the decline of newspapers that offer a valuable service to their respective communities.
Previously, the company introduced Journalist Studio, a set of free tools that journalists can use for everyday tasks. Now, the new features and tools are here to enable local publishers to connect to readers. These tools will also allow reporters to create more digitally-focused work.