In a bid to expand its reach into the "hyperlocal" news, Google is testing a new app called "Bulletin" that allows anyone to publish local news stories about their communities. The app is seen as a new effort to put a spotlight on stories that aren't being told by conventional media.
"Bulletin is a free, lightweight app for telling a story by capturing photos, videoclips and text right from your phone, published straight to the web (without having to create a blog or build a website)," Google said in a statement. "If you are comfortable taking photos or sending messages, you can create a Bulletin story!"
Here's what the search giant had to say more about the app:
What's special about a story on Bulletin? A Bulletin story is...
- Impactful: Bulletin helps you tell the stories that aren't being told
- Open: Bulletin stories are public and easy to discover: on Google search, through social networks, or via links sent by email and messaging apps
- Effortless: No setup is required to create a story - all you need is a smartphone
According to the company, "Bulletin" is currently in a limited pilot project, and is available in Nashville, Tennessee and Oakland, California. Those who are interested in trying the app can sign up for an early access.
At a launch event in Nashville, a Google spokesperson reportedly said that the company's goal was to collaborate with local news organisations to publish selected stories posted to Bulletin, with the author getting proper credit for the work.
So, does Google think that anybody can be a journalist? While the actual motive behind the app is still unclear, the information available so far does suggest that the company wants to make local news flow more seamlessly.
However, it will be interesting to see how Google will reconfirm the authenticity of the news stories, and how "Bulletin" will complement the company's efforts in its fight against fake news.