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Google News partners with publishers to surface local reopening timelines

Back in April, Google introduced easy access to COVID-19 information across Assistant, Podcasts, and News. The latest feature for the latter app surfaces local information, including reopening timelines.

Google News on Android and iOS already has a “COVID-19 news” banner and section to “see the latest coverage of the coronavirus.” A new pilot feature in partnership with local news publishers will surface “community reopening timelines, plus updates around business and school openings.” This “Local” tab joins “Latest” and “International.”

They can also see the status of the local healthcare infrastructure, public transportation, events and sections with resources for residents looking for or wanting to help families in need.

The local COVID-19 information in Google News appears as cards and will note when it was last “verified by publisher.” This is billed as helping “each community be prepared for what’s next.” Overtime, this feature will expand to encompass the US and Canada with Google also planning to bring similar information to other products.

This feature is available in more than 21 areas, ranging across both small and large newsrooms from The Raleigh News & Observer,, CBS Chicago, Oregon Live and Gothamist.

Meanwhile, continuing the trend, Search is getting a “dedicated local news carousel highlighting timely, accurate news about their community.” Google is also expanding the carousel of tweets from local officials and health authorities, with availability in over 30 countries.

Lastly, the company notes a “significant uptick” in people using Assistant — “Hey Google, play 1010 WINS” or “Hey Google, play 88.5” — to listen to local radio.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: