Google drew heavy skepticism when it introduced a service Friday called Bulletin that allows users to publish stories with text, tags, photos, and video through its app directly to the web.
The purpose? The platform is for hyperlocal community news: “Bulletin makes it effortless to put a spotlight on inspiring stories that aren’t being told,” Google said. Maggie Shiels, Google spokeswoman, spoke to Business Insider:
“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. We are excited to see how people use the app during this pilot phase.”
The app is only available in two cities for the time being– Nashville, Tenn. and Oakland, Calif.– and users must request access to participate in the pilot. It allows people to share stories that mainstream media misses or fails to cover.
It counts on convenience. Any user with a smartphone can publish through the app rather than having to build a personal blog or website. Business Insider elaborated:
“The stories published through the application come up on Google search and can be shared just like any other link. It’s similar to the neighborhood social network Nextdoor, except without the vetting process, since Google wants to limit the setup process.”
This convenience threatens the reliability of the service as a news source. Google has been criticized in the past for algorithms that failed to separate misinformation from the accurate news.
“While Bulletin is designed to help personalize the Google News experience, it could be a risky move for a company already fighting the “fake news” battle,” Business Insider reported.
Google said that it’s working on improving its algorithm to support verified news. Will Bulletin be a step in the right direction or will it cause further damage to the Google News brand?
The public’s reaction to Facebook’s move to poll users to rank news sources based on how much they’re “trusted” was not received well, so what will Google’s move be?
According to Business Insider, the website reads, “If you are comfortable taking photos or sending messages, you can create a Bulletin story!”
It sounds like social media, but a platform that’s supposed to be handled more professionally. Ultimately, it all comes down to the people and whether we can handle something as seemingly simple as posting accurate, truthful information.