Content guidelines

For your content to be eligible for the Google News on Assistant platform, you must adhere to the following guidelines:

Playlist placement

For this feature, your stories fit into one of two parts of the playlist structure, determined by their length:

  • Short-format stories, which are under two minutes, play first. Most short-format stories are approximately 50 seconds.
  • Medium-format stories, which are 2-15 minutes long, play after a block of 5-8 short-format stories.

What to include

We recommend that stories in this beta news experience include the following:

Conversational headlines
  • Use verbs and articles like "the," "a," and "an."
  • Avoid dates.
  • Keep the length to 35-40 characters.
Clear introductions and leads
  • Say both the name of the show or publisher and the name of the person who speaks.
    • This can be included as a separate <intro> file in an mRSS feed.
  • Capture what the story is about early in the production. Use the lead to get the audience hooked. If the story had a host lead in the initial broadcast, include audio or video of the lead in the media file of the story.
    • Text of the host lead via the <description> field, or another text-based RSS field isn't a supported solution.
Reliable structures
  • Each story must stand alone. Avoid references to previous content.
  • Cover a single topic. Avoid an overview of multiple stories.
  • To make clear handoffs between voices:
      • Host introduces themself and outlet.
      • Host delivers lead.
      • Host introduces reporter.
      • Reporter delivers story with tape.
      • Return to host for outro.
Creative elements
  • Make audio-first or audio-rich content that's meant to be listened to. For example:
    • Include more than one voice in a story.
    • Use natural or ambient sound to enrich the story. A report about wildfires may include the sound of a noisy fire.
Clear edits
  • Begin with a half-second of silence, also known as a breath in. The silence prevents rough edits.
  • End with a half-second of silence. The silence transitions the listener out of the story.
  • Edit for the ear, not the eye. Do not cut off words. Do not include words or sounds from a different story.
Content warnings
  • Include an explicit content warning at the start of the story for stories with content or language that might be inappropriate. Refer to the following example:
    • Preface the story with a recorded message, such as "This story contains explicit language that might not be appropriate for all listeners."

What to avoid

We recommend that stories in this beta news experience avoid the following:

Words like "breaking" or time references like "today" or "this morning"
Stories can be shown in an on-demand experience so they appear after the original air date and time. Avoid these in story content, headlines, and show names.
Profanity or foul language in headlines
Because headlines might be read aloud by our text-to-speech voice, avoid language that isn't appropriate for broadcast. See FCC guidelines for guidance.
Promotional materials or stories with ads
This experience is a space for non-promotional stories and content. Individual stories shouldn't be promotional, or contain sponsored content or advertisments.
For short-format stories, do not include music
Music in stories under two minutes can distract listeners or viewers, especially when the music included isn't for a specific story purpose.
For intros in the mRSS spec, do not include music
These introductions are only 3-5 seconds long, and might be used or reused in multiple stories in a single feed.
For outros in the mRSS spec, do not include phrases like "Hey Google" or "Ok Google"
These phrases can wake up nearby devices. Use phrases that include what to ask. Refer to the following examples:
  • You can ask the Assistant to play our podcast The Example Times.
  • If you want to listen live, just ask to play The Example Times livestream.
For video used as audio, do not include content that requires the visuals to be understood
Refer to the following information:
  • Videos that have text on the screen without voiceover or only music for the audio don't work on a screenless device. Similarly, user-generated videos like those from social media, or unedited video like that from a press conference can be difficult to understand without the visuals. Avoid such videos in the RSS feed.
  • Archived or previously aired content on trending topics can sometimes include dated references. In general, avoid the use of content that's older than a week without context that it's from an earlier broadcast.
  • Ephemeral content like traffic updates or weather predictions can become irrelevant soon after they are published. Opt to exclude these stories from the RSS feed.