Google Bulletin – Hyperlocal Community News App in Testing

I was alerted on Twitter by Marc Nashaat, a link builder in Toronto, about a new app from Google called Bulletin. From their page:

Bulletin is an app for contributing hyperlocal stories about your community, for your community, right from your phone. Bulletin makes it effortless to put a spotlight on inspiring stories that aren’t being told.

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

With Bulletin you can contribute to local stories and be the voice of your community!

The early access request form appears to indicate that it is initially being tested in Nashville, TN and Oakland Ca. And that Google is primarily interested in testing across a range of mobile devices.

As noted, the content does appear in the index. I experimented with a few URLS until I landed up this one: site:posts.google.com/bulletin/ which surfaced three results from Oakland, two of which have live content dated January 23.

Here is an example from the Woman’s March Oakland:

The page on which it is hosted offers a bold headline, and simple real time display of captioned photos, videos and short commentary in a time stamped stream like presentation. By default the postings appear to be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Short text inputs laid out as cards
Video is also supported
In the footer there is a call to action for potential authors that goes to the info page and the Creative Commons licensing.

There are a set of guidelines that prohibits the usual suspects ( spam, deception, plagiarism) and a few that I had not seen before like the prohibition against Medical Advice. Promotional content and otherwise copyrighted material are likewise banned. There is the ability to “report” a story as abusive:

As noted by Google the content is surfaced in search and is visible in the index. The title of the event auto populates the Title Tag. Since there is little page content and no meta-description tag there is no content currently showing in the description area other than the title.

Here is the meta information from the page with liberal use of OG notation and the inclusion of authorship:

The implications of this are interesting, if abstract and my thoughts are still forming. Let me know what you think.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
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3 thoughts on “Google Bulletin – Hyperlocal Community News App in Testing”

  1. If ‘young’ people pick up on it (which is sort of tough to accomplish), it could be a cool thing. Right now, Snap and to some extent Instagram seems to have their attention.

  2. I feel like this is another way Google is going to try to encourage users to write content for them instead of featuring content from websites. More “Google isthe new homepage” stuff? Possibly.

    My kids have absolutely no interest in this (they’re 16 & 21) they’re on Instagram and SnapChat and perfectly happy there. It’s going to take A LOT to get them interested elsewhere.

    I hope Google pays attention to Local Guide abuse, unhelpfulness, and mis-use. They’re already rewarding them for making garbage answers in the Q&A function, this has the potential to be a hot mess as well.

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