Quartz‘s Christopher Mims reports today that Google is looking to give its local news content a push by adding a local news card to Google Now, which provides contextually relevant information based on variables such as user preferences, location and time of day. The card, which is currently in beta testing, would deliver highly targeted regional news, community information and business promotions to users carrying Android phones, tablets, and Google Glass.
Mims rightly points out that “Profiting from local news is the one nut that no web or media company has been able to crack,” which is why local broadcast and print journalism has foundered in the digital era. But as my colleague Mathew Ingram tweeted, the effort makes a tremendous amount of sense: Google has built an empire by placing ads in its search results and a wide variety of other web content, and hyper-local news is much more valuable when it A) highly targeted and B) delivered to mobile devices. We don’t know whether the local news card will ever be available to the general public, but if it is it could give local journalism a huge boost.