‘Hey Google, tell me something good’ filters out bad news on Home devices

Is continuously negative news bumming you out? Are you beginning to wonder if anything good is happening in the world? Just say ‘Hey Google, tell me something good,’ with any Google Assistant-enabled device for a curated summary of stories of people solving problems in the world.

Google announced the positive news feature today, August 22, on its Assistant blog.

“These days we’re consuming more news than ever, and sometimes, it can feel like there are only problems out there,” wrote Ryan Burke, a creative producer with Google’s Creative Lab.

“But the fact is,” Ryan continued, “there is a plethora of ‘good news’ happening, and we’re not talking about unlikely animal friendships or random acts of kindness. Real people are making progress solving real issues — and hearing about those stories is a crucial part of a balanced media diet.”

Google sources the positive difference stories from the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN). The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization focuses on publishing stories about how people can make the world a better place — the practice is called “solutions journalism.” SJN gathers and summaries articles from a large and diverse range of media sources.

“Solutions journalism empowers and energizes audiences, helping to combat negative news fatigue. It’s an important part of a balanced news diet, so we’re exploring how to incorporate more solutions journalism wherever you access Google News,”  Ryan wrote.

Google provided three recent examples of solutions journalism:

    • How Georgia State University doubled its graduation rate and eradicated gaps in achievement between black and white students.
    • How an East Detroit backyard beekeeper helped a dwindling bee population recover and boosted the local economy at the same time.
    • How Iceland used curfews and extracurricular activity enrollment coupons to stem a growing problem with teen drinking.

Google admits the ‘Tell me something good’ feature isn’t a panacea or magic bullet to eradicate bad behavior or bad news. However, as Ryan summarizes the new free service, “But it’s an experiment worth trying because it’s good info about good work that may bring some good to your day.” And it might bring some reassuring balance to our exposure to traditional news media, which is glutted with stories about problems.

Ask Google to ‘Tell me something good’ on your Google Home, Smart Display, or Assistant-enabled phone to hear positive news yourself.

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