Justia’s Verdict Now Available on Google Assistant

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Google's new "Speakable" markup allows publishers to customize the way their content is described by the Google Assistant. Justia is proud to announce that using this new markup, commentary from Verdict, our legal commentary and analysis site, now comes up in news queries on Google Home.

We are proud to announce that our legal commentary site, Verdict, is now eligible to appear in news results on Google Assistant. The Google Assistant is a voice-powered virtual assistant that is mainly available on smartphones and smart home devices such as smart TVs and smart speakers like Google Home. By using Google Assistant, you can get news briefings right away from a curated selection of sources. Our Verdict columnists offer insightful analysis of legal and political breaking news and developments.

Google HomeAs voice search is becoming increasingly important, Google and schema.org recently introduced a new schema markup called “Speakable” to optimize content for Google Assistant. The Speakable markup enables publishers to mark up sections of a news article that are most relevant to be read aloud by the Google Assistant. This new schema markup is aimed at news publishers who are looking to reach a wider audience. With this feature, now more people can listen to top news headlines, get the latest on a particular news topic, or ask about a specific piece of news from the comfort of their home using Google Home, or on the go with their smartphones.

At Justia, we are continually monitoring the tech industry for new trends, features, and developments. As part of this effort, we check for updates within the schema markup structured data code on a regular basis. As explained in one of our Onward posts from November 2016, several companies that work in search (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Yandex), associated to form schema.org to create a standard vocabulary to facilitate marking up website content.

When an online publisher marks up either a section or sections of the article that they think is well suited to be read aloud, the Speakable markup will identify it and will then use text-to-speech (TTS) conversion to deliver the information verbally. Basically, the “speakable” property will specify to Google the parts that are helpful for speech and will allow search engines and other applications to know which content on a webpage should be read aloud using TTS.

Google AssistantWhen a user requests news about a particular topic, the Google Assistant will search the web for results based on that query, and will then read out a marked up section of the news article it chose to deliver by converting text to speech. Google will also name the source of the article and will send that source and another two articles to the user’s device. Users can ask the Google Assistant queries using verbal commands such as “What’s the latest news on [topic]?” and “What’s the latest on [topic]?”, and then they should be able to hear news about that topic from different news sources, including Verdict.

Currently, the Speakable markup is only available for valid US news sites and English content. In addition to this, Google requires that a website participates in its Google News Producer program for it to be able to deliver audio content through the use of Speakable schema. It is still in beta phase, and Google lists a disclaimer stating that they are still developing this feature and that there could be changes to its requirements and guidelines.

Once Google completes its beta phase, we will surely hear from them, and it is extremely likely that they will be extending its implementation to other search queries, countries, and languages. We are keeping track of this schema’s development, and how the Speakable schema markup could be used in the future for our clients’ legal websites and blogs. That said, we should always keep in mind that high-quality, original, and relevant content will be given preference in speech search results.

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