Would You Like to Hear the News? Investigating Voice-BasedSuggestions for Conversational News Recommendation

2 Jun 2020  ·  Harshita Sahijwani, Jason Ingyu Choi, Eugene Agichtein ·

One of the key benefits of voice-based personal assistants is the potential to proactively recommend relevant and interesting information. One of the most valuable sources of such information is the News. However, in order for the user to hear the news that is useful and relevant to them, it must be recommended in an interesting and informative way. However, to the best of our knowledge, how to present a news item for a voice-based recommendation remains an open question. In this paper, we empirically compare different ways of recommending news, or specific news items, in a voice-based conversational setting. Specifically, we study the user engagement and satisfaction with five different variants of presenting news recommendations: (1) a generic news briefing; (2) news about a specific entity relevant to the current conversation; (3) news about an entity from a past conversation; (4) news on a trending news topic; and (5) the default - a suggestion to talk about news in general. Our results show that entity-based news recommendations exhibit 29% higher acceptance compared to briefing recommendations, and almost 100% higher acceptance compared to recommending generic or trending news. Our investigation into the presentation of news recommendations and the resulting insights could make voice assistants more informative and engaging.

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