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Smart Home

Google News helps Google Home find the stories you want to hear about

As well as reading the highlights, Google Assistant on your smart speaker or display can find more on topics of interest.

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The Lenovo Smart Display is about to get better at keeping up with the news.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Google Home speakers are getting better at keeping you up to date.

You could always ask Google Assistant to tell you the news, and your Google Home smart speaker will play briefings from a customizable list of sources. The Lenovo Smart Display, which has Google Assistant built-in, will even show you any videos that go along with those briefings. But if you didn't need an overview, preferring up-to-date info on a specific event, you were better off on a computer or phone.

Starting Thursday, Google's bringing Google News to its smart devices to help change that. You can now ask your Google Home or your Lenovo Smart Display about a specific news event. Google Assistant speakers like the Home will read through excerpts from relevant news articles. Smart speakers with a screen like the Lenovo Smart Display and the upcoming JBL Link View will find relevant news videos on YouTube to fill you in on exactly what you want to know.

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Google rolled out the revamped Google News in May. The service uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to find relevant stories based on your interests and searches and then customize your news feed accordingly. Google will now use the intelligence of Google News to find the appropriate excerpts and videos when you ask a question of your smart speakers or displays.

Examples of questions given include "What's the news on the women's national soccer team?" or "What's the latest on NASA?" Google announced the change via a blog post on Thursday. It'll apply to any smart speaker with Google Assistant built-in, and all Google Assistant-equipped smart speakers with a screen as well, though the Lenovo Smart Display is the only one of those on the market for now. Right now, the feature is only available in the US, though the blog post promises to roll it out wider soon.