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New: Get @U2 news via Amazon Echo, Google Home and Siri devices

@U2, April 02, 2018
By: Matt McGee

 

New: @U2 News Briefs for Alexa, Google & Siri

We're proud to announce that @U2 news is now available in an audio format that you can access via Amazon Alexa devices, Google Home devices and Apple's Siri. In addition to the news that you get here on our website, on our social feeds and via our longform podcasts, we're now producing the @U2 News Brief, a short audio update covering the latest U2 news and information. Full instructions for each type of device are below, but first let's explain what we're doing.

How often will we publish news briefs?

As often as needed -- every day when the band is active and making news, or less often when there's less news to share. If you don't hear a new news brief for several days, don't be alarmed; it just means there hasn't been much news to share.

How long are they?

In our testing over the past few weeks, each news brief has run about 90 seconds. When there's more news to report, they might run longer. We don't foresee them ever running more than 3-4 minutes long.

Who records these?

During testing, it's been me writing and recording each news brief. But going forward, other @U2 staffers will join me in writing and recording them -- just like the news you get here on our website, it'll be a mix of U2 fans.

Where are these available?

If we've done everything correctly, they should be available wherever each device is being sold. For example, with Amazon, we've created a separate skill for the US, Canada, UK, Australia and India -- those are the current English-language distribution options for developers. We'll continue to use the Amazon, Google and Apple developer tools to make the audio available to new countries as soon as they can.

How do I hear the news briefs?

It works slightly differently depending on what devices you have, so here are instructions for each.

Amazon (Echo, Dot, Show, etc.): In your Alexa app, go to the "Skills" section and do a search for "U2." One of the results should be @U2 News Brief. Select that skill and then click the "Enable" button. (Alternately, you can use this web page to enable the skill if logged in to your Amazon account.) Once the skill is enabled, it'll play as part of your "Flash Briefing." If you already have multiple news sources enabled, you can use the Settings to have ours play first or last or in whatever order you want. Once you're all set up, just ask "Alexa, what's my Flash briefing?" and our news brief should play.

Google (Home, Home Max, Home Mini): Just say, "Hey Google, play the podcast @U2 News Brief." Note: In testing, we've found this can be difficult to access. When Google hears "U2," it often mistakes it for "YouTube." Ergo, some testers have been totally unable to access the news brief. Other testers have found that Google might instead plays our longform podcast. This is out of our control. Our best advice is to speak slowly, enunciate as best you can and keep trying until it learns your voice.

Apple (HomePod, iPhone, iPad): Just say, "Hey Siri, play the podcast @U2 News Brief." Your device should open up the Podcasts app and begin to play the latest news brief. But see the disclaimers above for Google devices -- they all apply here, too.

So there ya go. This is as new to us as it is to you. We welcome your feedback and constructive criticism, and we ask for your patience and understanding if you have trouble accessing the news briefs -- we'll do our best, but there may be little we can do to help.

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