Google has announced it is testing a new tool known as Bulletin that will allow anyone to publish local news stories or events.
The feature, which the tech company states will help people better communicate local information like bookstore readings or street closures, is already up and running. However, it is still in “early access mode,” which means it is being slowly released across the country. Currently, it is only available in Nashville and Oakland, California.
The idea behind the app is to share information. Google states that you can use it to publish writings, photos, or videos directly from your phone to the web without needing to go through any extra hoops.
“If you are comfortable taking photos or sending messages, you can create a Bulletin story!,” reads the company website, according to Tech Crunch.
To make sure the app runs smoothly, Google plans to try to partner with a range of local news stations. They hope that move will allow those stations to find and publish new stories while also giving the author credit.
Unfortunately, while the new system might be exciting, it is not going to be easy for Google to break into the local news service. Many people live steam or tweet breaking news, especially when they witness a pressing event like a fire or accident. In addition, most people who want to promote local events have their own avenues to do it.
Instant-update local news is also not a space that it is easy to monetize. Only a few companies have managed to do it, and they are unlikely to allow somebody else to take over their domain.
To break the mold, Google appears to be marketing Bulletin as a more social experience. The company has attempted to break into the social space a few times in the past, and while the app is geared towards news and information, it seems to be another try at connecting people through the Google platform.
“Bulletin is an experimental app that gives people an easy way to tell stories about what is going on around them — ranging from local bookstore readings to high school sporting events to information about local street closures,” Google’s Maggie Shields told CNET. “We are excited to see how people use the app during this pilot phase.”