Google Looks To Provide "Hyperlocal" News

The company is conducting internal testing on a Google Now local news "card" that will push geographically relevant information to help users get to know their neighborhood better.

What's the Latest Development?

Google's latest effort to become everyone's one-stop information shop could someday involve a special "card" added to its existing Now service that will display geographically-relevant data to a person's smartphone. Currently in internal beta test, the card will present what vice president Johanna Wright calls "very local, hyper-local news...[that] teaches me things about my neighborhood. For example, I found out Miss Mexico came to my son’s school, I saw that [the local] Chipotle was giving out burritos, and someone was stabbed in the park near my house."

What's the Big Idea?

Writer Christopher Mims notes, "Profiting from local news is the one nut that no web or media company has been able to crack...Putting [it] in context could make it relevant in a way that simply dumping it on a site that people have to remember to go to might never." He also observes that important civic issues that used to be covered by small regional newspapers often get overlooked, and that adding this feature to Google Now -- which is available on all Android smartphones and iOS smartphones with the Google Search app installed -- could give them more visibility.

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