Google is reportedly testing a local news “card” for its Google Now predictive search product.
Quartz first reported on the project, and says it’s currently only being tested internally by Google employees. The revelation came from an interview last week that Quartz did with Google VP Johanna Wright:
“One thing we’re testing right now is a very local hyper-local news card,” says Wright. “Which is really useful—it 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. It’s very, very targeted to you and your interests.”
Hyperlocal news is an extremely difficult space to solve, and there’s more than one company that’s tried it — and failed or given up — over the years. EveryBlock and Outside.in are probably two of the more well known, past players in that space. The latter was acquired by AOL’s Patch, which is still trying to do hyperlocal news, but struggling with employee defections.
Google Now’s promise is to deliver information to users without first requiring a search. It already features information such as local weather, local businesses and local events. And we may have seen a preview of its plans for local news with the recent Google News Onebox card test earlier this month.