The world is in shambles. Just turn the TV on — school shootings, political warfare, the increasingly widening gap between Democrats and Republicans, global warming, the devaluation of science, not to mention fake news — and it becomes apparent that we're living in a hellscape.
Escaping the dreadful shenanigans of this world is impossible, and choosing to ignore it all isn't going to be productive in the long run. However, it's necessary to take a break once in a while to avoid going into a total mental breakdown.
So, Google is trying to show that good still exists in this world via a new feature now built into Assistant that makes meaningful, uplifting news easier to find.
Users can now ask Assistant to "tell me something good." Google says people are wading in a "hope gap," the idea that focusing on the problems instead of solutions results in more fear and anxiety. The hope gap can cause someone to fall into a place where solving problems just doesn't seem feasible.
Here's What Google's 'Tell Me Something Good' Feature Is For
Instead of showing just how bleak the world is, Assistant will demonstrate how humans have the capacity to make bring in clearer skies again. "Good news" in the context of Assistant doesn't mean cloyingly uplifting, but rather news that focuses on positive change happening across the globe. Google has a name for it — "solutions journalism." It shows how people can make this world a much better place instead of showing them just how irreparably ugly it is.
As such, Assistant will show positive news however radical or small, like how a university destroyed achievement gaps between black and white students, or how Iceland effectively solved its underage drinking problem.
To be clear, Google doesn't intend to insulate people from the woes of the world, but it does want to show us examples that positive change can still occur even though it seems civilization is nearing its final ounces of decency.
Better Social Media Usage
Google's new feature piggybacks on the growing initiative by various social media companies to improve the way people connect and communicate with others, and forge a better relationship with online media. For instance, both Facebook and Instagram now offer tools for better usage management, and Apple has made it easier to curb phone addiction.
Of course, hearing about good news won't solve the seemingly endless list of bad things that are happening right now, but it might serve as a better way of finding hope that it's still not too late to turn things around.