New Apple, Google AI tools should have news product leaders thinking

By Jodie Hopperton


Los Angeles, California, United States


I was a little late to the show and caught it as Apple announced companion mode enabling the phones screen to be viewed on a Mac.

I’ll admit, my first thought was hallelujah, we’ll finally get to working mobile first (as per my short rant a few weeks ago).

But actually they announced much more serious things that will fundamentally change our industry. 

Apple and Google updates will change the way news media companies interact with readers.
Apple and Google updates will change the way news media companies interact with readers.

Top takeaways on the new Apple features

Before we get to that, there are a couple of points worth noting:

  1. Journalists will find it a lot easier to record and transcribe calls as it will soon be built in as a standard feature. More on that from Nieman Lab here (and likely RIP to Otter, my favourite tool that does this).

  2. It’s interesting that the AI generated images on device include sketch, illustration, and animation, but no photos.  A good way of getting around fakes (but this is still very much a problem that needs to be solved). 

The main event is their AI features, which is pretty much as expected. However they are calling it “Apple Intelligence” (clearly some good headline writers there).

Apple Intelligence lives on the device. This is mostly for privacy reasons, but it also allows the AI to access many different apps and sources of information so it can be highly personalised right out the gate. This will be a layer of AI on top of our newsletters, Web sites, apps, and likely podcasts too.  

Top takeaways on Google I/O features

I posted my takeaways to our Product & Tech Initiative Slack group this week after reading up on the Google announcement. In case you’re not part of the group (you should fix that!), here they are:

  • Consumers will be switching between apps and devices even more seamlessly than today (there was a great example of information being automatically pulled from mail into an in-depth spreadsheet complete with charts), which means less reason to leave native platforms and ecosystems. We’re going to have to figure out distribution in a whole new way. This needs to include getting into mailboxes and on operating systems, beyond newsletters and apps.

  • AI is being built for local use on phones. It’s going to overlay third-party apps, which means less control for these third parties, including media organisations.

  • “AI” was mentioned 121 times in under two hours. I suspect “multimodal” wasn’t that far behind. We’re going to have to produce in every medium.

  • Google, and other major AI services, are building in watermarking for content (images, videos, texts) created on their own platforms. But many aren’t. And there is no industry standard for discerning the difference between real, fake and enhanced.

Pros (for users) and cons (for the industry) on both redesigns

Both the Google and Apple AI tools got me excited as a consumer. Seamlessly switching between apps, getting to know me and saving a whole load of work — wonderful!

But from a  news industry perspective, I am struggling to find an optimistic way forward. Gartner predicts that search will decrease 25% by 2026. News media companies are already starting to see the decline.  

As consumers will likely stay more and more within the walled gardens of Big Tech, where does discovery come from? How will consumer behaviour change? What do the new patterns look like? 

In short, this is an exciting new world but we desperately need to figure out what this means for news. If you have analysis or opinions, please share them with me. 

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About Jodie Hopperton

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