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Webinar Recap: A Look At Google’s Media Tool and Platform Offerings

Sep 13, 2016

Suddenly, digital video is everywhere on your social timelines. As a government storyteller, you may be overwhelmed about all the tools available and all of the features each publishing platform has to offer. Facebook, Twitter and SnapChat all offer great video platforms that are free and easy to use, plus they make it easy for you to market to your social followers on those respective platforms.

When most people think of Google, they often think of the search engine, but Google also has been on the forefront of creating media and research tools, metric suites and content presentation platforms for years. Together, these Google resources can help any digital audio/video producer discover interesting stories, produce/publish content and track consumption. Google tools are free to use (as are the Facebook video and Facebook Live platforms), but be sure to check with your respective agency to see if agency-wide agreements are in place.

Nick Whitaker, Media Outreach Manager at Google, joined us last week in a DigitalGov University webinar, Video, VR, Mobile Reporting, and More With Google, for the Digital Audio/Video Community of Practice to discuss Google’s latest media offerings.

All About News Lab

Screen capture of the Google News Lab homepage shows some of the lessons and training available.

News Lab is a resource within Google that provides training documentation (over 40 lessons in 19 languages) and live office hours that help storytellers make the best use of Google tools. The News Lab tools portal provides best practice documentation on advanced search, as well as Google Earth and Maps, tools that can help you create vibrant visualizations. There’s also documentation about Google Analytics, Google’s metrics platform, which will help storytellers learn about the audience that is consuming their content (what part of the world they’re coming from, what devices they’re using, etc). Google Trends is also an invaluable resource that can help storytellers research topics that are gaining popularity in real time. Be sure to use the geographic filter to find stories that are most relevant to your audience and compare search terms to help increase the chance of your content being found in search.

Immersive Experiences and Newswire

Google is far from being the only tech company in the ‘immersive experience’ space. Facebook now lets users upload panoramic photos to their timelines and Facebook also owns the Oculus Rift platform, which allows users to experience virtual reality via a computer and headset. Samsung is releasing their Gear VR equipment and Microsoft is betting big on HoloLens, their high definition hologram platform. Still, Google has been rolling out exciting 360 degree video and photo tools for some time now. Google’s YouTube platform has been allowing users to upload and stream their own 360 degree videos for over a year and there’s even a designated channel provides users with a low cost VR product that works with most mobile phones and doesn’t require expensive computer equipment to drive experiences.

A Google Cardboard virtual reality viewer.

Richard Mands Photography, iStock, Thinkstock

Looking for a way to add 360-degree photos to your content? Google Street View app lets users create immersive photos with 360 cameras. Those looking for high quality satellite imagery of big news events can be alerted about new photos at Lastly, Google recently teamed up with Storyful to create Newswire, a channel that features news related user-generated videos that have been verified by fact checkers.

Follow Newslab on Twitter and watch Newslab on YouTube to keep up with news about Google’s media production tools and resources.

Note: The mention of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and SnapChat are used for illustrative purposes, and does not imply an endorsement by the federal government or any specific federal agencies of these products or companies.