Digital Innovation
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Hearst is launching a team tasked with building voice-activated experiences

Hearst may be a 129-year-old media company,  but even it’s planning for a Jetsons-like future when news will be consumed through voice-controlled technology.

The New York-based company has quietly launched a 10-person group called the Native and Emerging Technologies (or NET group) that’s responsible for keeping the mega-publisher up to speed with the newest technologies, starting with voice-activated devices including Amazon Echo, Google Home and voice-based smartphone experiences. For instance, this week, the team launched an Amazon Echo Skill for Good Housekeeping. The group was born out of Hearst’s acquisition of startup BranchOut a couple of years ago.

“We’re looking at this new wave of natural language interfaces as being a great source of content discovery and content interaction,” said Phil Wiser, Hearst’s chief technology officer. “We find all of that to be increasingly important as a way to engage consumers.”

The Good Housekeeping Echo skill allows users to receive a step-by-step guide of instructions and recommended tools to remove stains by talking to the cylinder-shaped gadget. As consumers work through removing the stain, music plays in the background.

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