Overview

Your News Update is a unique, timely audio news playlist generated on-demand for each individual user on the Google Assistant and other Google surfaces. To learn more, check out this blogpost: Hey Google, play me the news.

Availability and eligibility

Your News Update is available in English in the United States. Publishers from around the world who produce English-language audio content can contact their Google representative for more information.

Set up your news content

To include your news content on Your News Update, your feed must meet the following requirements:

  • Your news content must use a valid XML feed and meet RSS 2.0 specifications.
  • Create a separate feed for each show or channel that your organization submits.
  • Your news RSS feed URL, image URLs, and media file URLs must be accessible by Googlebot for indexing purposes.
  • Your news content must comply with all the guidelines and policies.
  • Your news RSS feed must meet all required Technical specifications.

If your news content follows all of these requirements, contact your Google representative.

Content guidelines

For your content to be eligible for Your News Update, you must adhere to the following guidelines, which cover journalistic standards and product-specific requirements.

General guidelines

When you create your news story, consider the following guidelines:

  • Submitted stories must cover a single news story or topic. Avoid an overview of multiple news stories in a single audio file, which can't be included in this product experience.
  • Since news demands fresh and timely stories, publish the stories to your feed as soon as they're available. Do not republish or add old stories to your feed. Stories that are exact or near duplicates of each other aren't acceptable within a single feed, or across multiple feeds from the same publisher.
  • Avoid highly ephemeral content, such as traffic updates and weather predictions. This type of content can become irrelevant soon after it's published, so exclude these stories from the RSS feed.
  • To remove a story from our index after it’s been published, submit a <dcterms:valid> tag with an expiry date that’s in the past. Deleting it from your feed will not remove it from our index. You can find information about the removal of stories in Technical specifications.
  • If a story is expected to quickly become outdated, you can optionally use a <dcterms:valid> tag to specify a particular time to expire the story. You can find information about the expiration of outdated stories in Technical specifications.
  • Each story must be between 30 seconds and 10 minutes long, though they can be slightly shorter or longer. The playlist is designed to lead with shorter stories, each under two minutes long, and then transition to longer stories.

Best practices

To provide quality experiences to the users, we recommend that the stories in Your News Update incorporate the following information and guidelines.

Short and conversational headlines

When you create headlines, remember the following points:

  • Provide headlines that describe each individual story, rather than a generic headline.
  • Make sure to use verbs and articles such as "the," "a," and "an."
  • Avoid the inclusion of dates.
  • Keep the length of the headline to 35-40 characters.

Reliable structures

To create reliable structures, remember the following points:

  • Each story must stand alone. Avoid references to any previous content.
  • Adhere to the coverage of a single topic. Avoid an overview of multiple stories.
  • Make clear handoffs between the voices involved.

Introduce yourself

The goal is for the publisher to introduce themselves once and exactly once. There are two options for how you can achieve this: the embedded option and the Audio Logo option.

Embedded option

The embedded option is to state within the first 20 seconds of the story your outlet name as it's displayed in the <title> or <itunes:author> elements of your feed. For this option, the listener journey is as follows:

  1. The lede or hook: The first 10 seconds of any file are the most important. That's when a listener decides whether to continue to listen to a story or to skip it. The lede acts like a promise to the listener that the story is worth a listen.

    The following is a lede example:

    "While you work from home, you probably use an ergonomic setup that's less than ideal, but you probably don't want to spend a ton of money. So, what are some things you can do to save money and your back?"

  2. The introduction: Who are you? The introduction clearly states the name of the speaker and the outlet they represent.

    The following is an introduction:

    "I'm Aleisha Vasquez with the Example News."

  3. The story: The story is the bulk of the audio file. It must be between 30 seconds and 10 minutes long. Make the story exactly as long as it needs to be and not one second longer. If you want to include a standard outcue of "I'm Aleisha Vasquez with the Example News" at the very end, that's fine but entirely optional.

Audio Logo option

The Audio Logo option is to append an optional feed element MP3 file to your feed named "audio logo." For this option, the listener journey is as follows:

  1. The Audio Logo: The listener hears the Audio Logo before the MP3 file. The following are examples:

    • "This is the Example Times"
    • "The Example Times"
    • "From the Example Times"
  2. The story: The story follows, as explained in step 3 of the embedded option.

If a publisher chooses to use this optional Audio Logo, it must meet the following requirements:

  • It's 3-5 seconds long.
  • It doesn't include any additional information or taglines.
  • It's clear, crisp, and represents the brand well without too much fluff.

This approach might work well for publishers who segment existing content that doesn't already contain the type of flow outlined in the embedded option.

Sign off with an outro (optional)

You can end your segment with an outro. Outros are an optional mRSS element for stories longer than two minutes. Use outros with mRSS. Don't add it to your MP3 file.

An outro functions as a call to action. What do you want the listener to do after they listen to your story?

The following are some outro examples:

  • "To hear more from the Example Times, ask your Google Assistant for our podcast."
  • "For daily updates from our newsroom, subscribe to our newsletter."

Feature creative elements

Make audio-first or audio-rich content that's meant to be listened to, instead of read. See the following points about creative elements:

  • We recommend to include more than one voice in a story.
  • When possible, use natural or ambient sound to enrich the story. For example, a report about wildfires might include the sound of a fire crackling.

Use clear edits

When you edit the content, remember the following guidelines:

  • Begin the story with a half-second of silence, also known as a "breath-in." The silence prevents rough edits.
  • End the story with a half-second of silence. The silence transitions the listener out of the story.
  • Don't cut off words or include words and sounds from a previous story.

Include images

When possible, include a square aspect image that measures at least 1,400x1,400 pixels on a per-story basis. This helps your content appear better on Assistant-enabled devices with screens, also known as smart displays.

What to avoid

We recommend that stories in this news experience avoid the following information to provide quality experiences to the users.

Time references without context

Stories might appear after their original air date, so it's good practice to not use words such as "breaking" or time references such as "today" or "this morning." Remember to avoid these types of words and phrases in the story content, headlines, and show names. More specific or contextual uses of time, such as "today, Wednesday" or "on June 25th," are recommended.

Promotional materials and stories with ads

Individual stories shouldn't be promotional or contain sponsored content and advertisements. Promotional material and advertisements are often embedded directly into the media files, so review your content thoroughly. If you want to tell listeners where to find more of your content, refer to the Outro description.

Disruptive music

All music must meet the following requirements:

  • For stories that begin with music, someone must start to speak within the first five seconds of the story.
  • Stories must not have music that's so loud that it interferes with the ability to understand the words spoken. The music must not be disproportionately loud to the volume of the story itself.

Assistant phrases in outros

Avoid the use of phrases like "Hey Google" or "Ok Google" in outros in the mRSS specification because these phrases can wake up nearby devices. Instead, we recommend you use phrases that include what to ask.

For example, use phrases such as "You can ask the Assistant to play our podcast 'The Example Times'."

Visual content for video used in audio

Avoid videos that have text on the screen without voiceover, only music for the audio, or both. They don't work on a screenless device. Similarly, user-generated videos, videos meant for social media distribution, or unedited videos, such as from a press conference, can be difficult to understand without the visual content. Be sure to not include these types of videos in the RSS feed.

Technical specifications

Reference the information in this section to check that your RSS feed meets the technical specifications for Google Audio News.

The following images provide information on how Your News Update displays your content's metadata from the RSS tags on Android:

Figure 1. RSS feed metadata shown in playlist view.

Figure 2. RSS feed metadata shown while a story plays.

Figure 3. RSS feed metadata shown on the story information page.

The tags you use are defined by the iTunes, Media RSS, or DCMI extensions. Make sure to include the appropriate xmlns namespace declarations in the <rss> tag at the top of your feed. For details, see the following example:

&lt;rss version="2.0"
     xmlns:itunes="http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd"
     xmlns:media="http://search.yahoo.com/mrss/"
     xmlns:dcterms="http://purl.org/dc/terms/"&gt;

News publication RSS tags (<channel> level)

<title>

Required.

The name of the news content.

<itunes:author>

Required.

The news publication name.

Use the specific publication's name rather than the parent company's name. This value might be spoken aloud with text-to-speech to introduce the news content, so make it a concise identification of the source.

Examples:

  • "Next, from [The Example Times]."
  • "Now, a story from [The Example Times]."
<itunes:owner>

Required.

The owner information associated with this feed. This will be used to verify ownership of the news content to access analytics.

This specification must contain a <itunes:email> sub-element value with a valid email address of the owner of this news content.

Example:

<itunes:owner>
  <itunes:email>email@example.com</itunes:email>
<itunes:owner>
<link>

Required.

The fully-qualified URL of the homepage of your news content.

<description>

Required.

The description of your news content.

<image>

Required.

An image associated with your news content.

This specification must contain <title> and <link> sub-element values that are the same as the <title> and <link> elements in the <channel> level, and a <url> sub-element that points to a square aspect image that measures at least 1400x1400 pixels. This specification also must not be blocked from Googlebot.

Example:

&lt;image&gt;
  &lt;url&gt;http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/logo.png&lt;/url&gt;
  &lt;title>The Example Times&lt;/title&gt;
  &lt;link>http://www.example.com/theexampletimes&lt;/link&gt;
&lt;/image&gt;

<item>

Required.

An object that contains the details for a single-topic story, such as the title, description, media file, and duration.

For details on the required specifications, see Single-topic story RSS tags.

<itunes:block>

Not required.

To prevent the feed from public availability on products like iTunes or Google Podcasts, the value can be set to Yes (not case sensitive). Any other value has no effect. For more information, see Apple's RSS tags for Podcasts.

Single-topic story RSS tags (<item> level)

<title>

Required.

The name of the single-topic story.

<description>

Required.

The description of the single-topic story.

<enclosure> or <media:content> or <media:group>

Required.

The fully-qualified URL of the single-topic story audio or video file.

Google audio news supports MP3, MP4, and M4A formats with a recommended maximum size of 15 MB. For video used as audio, video files must use MP4 format, and must be less than 200 MB. For more information about supported media types, check out Supported Media for Google Cast, as this feature adheres to the same specifications.

Ensure that these media files are not protected by robots.txt, and are otherwise available to Googlebot.

The URL of the media file should have an average loudness of -16 LUFS (Loudness Units Full Scale) for stereo, or -19 LUFS if the content is mono. For more information, see Audio loudness.

Example of <enclosure> with required attributes length, type, and url:

<enclosure length="187000" type="audio/mpeg"
url="http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/pandas_loose.mp3"/>

Example of <media:content> with required attributes url and type:

<media:content url="http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/star_relief.mp3"
type="audio/mpeg" />

Example of <media:group> with required sub-element <media:content>, and attributes url and type:

<media:group>
<media:content url="http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/star_relief.mp3"
type="audio/mpeg" />
<media:content url="http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/star_relief.mp4"
type="video/mp4" />
</media:group>
<link>

Not required.

A related web page, such as a web permalink URL, of a text story on the same single-topic story.

<guid>

Required.

A permanently-assigned, case-sensitive Global Unique Identifier (GUID) for each single-topic story.

If your identifier isn’t a valid URL, set the attribute isPermaLink to false.

Examples:

<guid>http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/id/1234567891</guid>
<guid isPermaLink="false">abcde-1234567891</guid>
<pubDate>

Required.

The release date and time of the single-topic story.

This must be in RFC 822 date and time format.

<itunes:duration>

Required.

The length of time of the media file in hours, minutes, and seconds.

You can specify one of the following formats, where H=hours, M=minutes, and S=seconds, as followed:

  • HH:MM:SS
  • H:MM:SS
  • MM:SS
  • M:SS
  • SS

Examples:

<itunes:duration>1:10:00</itunes:duration>
<itunes:duration>10:00</itunes:duration>
<itunes:duration>1800</itunes:duration>
<itunes:image> or <media:thumbnail>

Not required.

The image for the single-topic story.

This is displayed alongside the news content on Google Assistant-enabled devices and should be at least 1400x1400 pixels. If no story-specific image is provided, Assistant defaults to the <image> element at the <channel> level.

<dcterms:valid>

Not required.

This tag sets a date and time for when single-topic stories expire from the feed.

It's used to expire stories that are no longer relevant to serve, such as breaking news events, previews of live events, and updates to news stories.

The story expiry date is formatted as follows: end=[the date and time that the episode expires in DCMI:Period format; scheme=W3C-DTF.

To remove a story, submit an expiry date that's in the past. This ensures that the story is no longer served to consumers of the feed.

Example:

<dcterms:valid>end=1970-01-01T00:00:00+00:00;
scheme=W3C-DTF</dcterms:valid>
<media:content url="..." expression="sample">

Not required.

Sample expressions to add intros and outros per single-topic story.

Intros: Sample expressions that allow for short, pre-recorded introductions. Intros, such as "This is Jane Doe reporting for [The Example Times]" or "From [The Example Times]," help transition between single-topic stories.

  • The intro <media:content> element must be less than 2-5 seconds and must not have background music.
  • The order in which the elements are listed determines the order that they play, so it must be listed before the news story itself.

Outros: Sample expressions that allow for short, pre-recorded promotions. They are appended to the end of the story in order to help educate the listener about further places to find your content, such as "For more from [The Example Times], ask your Google Assistant to play [The Examples Times] podcast."

  • This outro must be less than 10 seconds and must not have background music.
  • Outros can't be featured every time the related news story is played.
  • The order that the elements are listed determines the order that they play, so it must be listed after the news story itself.
<media:credit>

Not required.

The name of the reporter of the story.

This field can be written phonetically. The value of this element is only used audibly through TTS alongside the publishing entity name, <itunes:author>, to introduce your content.

Example: "Here's [Jane Doe] from [The Example Times]."

<media:category label="...">

Not required.

The field media:category specifies an attribute called label that's both human-readable and displayable in end user applications.

The label can be a literal category. For example, sports or entertainment. Or, it can be a short phrase of no more than five words that describes what the story is about. The text in this field is inserted into a TTS string that communicates something like, “Up next, a story about [label].”

This label should be a noun phrase. That is, it doesn't contain a verb and isn't a complete, standalone sentence. This specification maintains consistency among publisher-written labels and allows insertion of the label into TTS strings that already contain a verb.

Example

The following example follows RSS 2.0 and the technical specifications for Google News on the Assistant. For more information about what elements are required or not, see the technical specifications.

&lt;rss version="2.0"
     xmlns:itunes="http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd"
     xmlns:media="http://search.yahoo.com/mrss/"
     xmlns:dcterms="http://purl.org/dc/terms/"&gt;
  &lt;channel&gt;
   <title>The Example Times</title>
   &lt;link&gt;http://www.example.com/theexampletimes&lt;/link&gt;
   <description>The latest news from The Example Times.</description>
   <itunes:author>The Example Times</itunes:author>
   <itunes:owner>
      <itunes:email>theexampletimes@example.com</itunes:email>
   </itunes:owner>
   <image>
     <url>http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/logo.png</url>
     <title>The Example Times</title>
     &lt;link&gt;http://www.example.com/theexampletimes&lt;/link&gt;
   </image>
   &lt;item&gt;
     <title>Pandas run loose</title>
     <description>Pandas escape from the San Francisco Zoo</description>
     <link>http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/article/pandas-run-loose.html&lt;/link&gt;
     <guid>http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/id/1234567891</guid>
     <enclosure length="187000" type="audio/mpeg" url="http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/pandas_loose.mp3"/>
     <media:content url="http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/jane_doe_intro.mp3" type="audio/mpeg" expression="sample" />
     <media:content url="http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/pandas_loose.mp3" type="audio/mpeg" />
     <media:thumbnail url="http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/pandas_loose.jpg"
       width="1000" height="1000" />
     <media:category label="a panda escape"/>
     <pubDate>Thu, 8 Jun 2018 09:10:00 GMT</pubDate>
     <itunes:duration>45</itunes:duration>
   &lt;/item&gt;
   <item>
     <title>Celebrities headline relief efforts</title>
     <description>Stars are taking action to support those that lost their homes in Hurricane H by offering hands-on support</description>
     &lt;link&gt;http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/article/celebrities-headline-relief-efforts.html&lt;/link&gt;
     <guid>http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/id/1234567892</guid>
     <enclosure length="187000" type="audio/mpeg"
       url="http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/star_relief.mp3"/>
     <media:content url="http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/jane_doe_intro.mp3" type="audio/mpeg" expression="sample" />
     <media:group>
       <media:content url="http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/star_relief.mp3" type="audio/mpeg" />
       <media:content url="http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/star_relief.mp4" type="video/mp4" />
     </media:group>
     <media:credit scheme="urn:ebu" reporter="Jane Doe" />
     <media:thumbnail url="http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/star_relief.jpg"
       width="1000" height="1000" />
     <media:category label="hurricane relief efforts"/>
     <pubDate>Thu, 8 Jun 2018 09:20:00 GMT</pubDate>
     <!-- To set an expiration date for the story, submit any timestamp in the future in the following tag -->
     <dcterms:valid>end=2018-06-11T00:00:00+00:00; scheme=W3C-DTF</dcterms:valid>
     <itunes:duration>30</itunes:duration>
   </item>
   &lt;item&gt;
     <title>Jungle Cats win it all!</title>
     <description>Jungle Cats football fans celebrate again after 25-year drought!</description>
     &lt;link&gt;http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/article/jungle-cats-win-it-all.html&lt;/link&gt;
     <guid>http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/id/1234567893</guid>
     <enclosure length="187000" type="audio/mpeg" url="http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/jungle_cats_football.mp3"/>
     <media:group>
       <media:content url="http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/jungle_cats_football_4000.mp4" duration="129"
         type="video/mp4" bitrate="4096000" width="1920" height="1080"/>
       <media:content url="http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/jungle_cats_football_1500.mp4" duration="129"
         type="video/mp4" bitrate="1596000" width="960" height="540"/>
       <media:content url="http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/jungle_cats_football_400.mp4" duration="129"
         type="video/mp4" bitrate="496000" width="448" height="252"/>
       <media:content url="http://www.example.com/theexampletimes/jungle_cats_football.mp3" duration="129"
         type="audio/mpeg" bitrate="128000" width="0" height="0"/>
     </media:group>
     <media:category label="the Jungle Cats"/>
     <pubDate>Thu, 8 Jun 2018 11:03:00 GMT</pubDate>
     <!-- To remove the story, submit any timestamp in the past in the following tag -->
     <dcterms:valid>end=1970-01-01T00:00:00+00:00; scheme=W3C-DTF</dcterms:valid>
     <itunes:duration>129</itunes:duration>
   &lt;/item&gt;
  &lt;/channel&gt;
&lt;/rss&gt;