Google has announced a new initiative that will see the tech giant pay publishers around the world $1 billion to support the future of news.
As the company continues to fight the proposed News Media Bargaining Code in Australia, Google CEO Sundar Pichai [feature image] announced the initial $1 billion investment over three years in partnerships with news publishers.
The new product will be called the Google News Showcase and will start rolling out in Germany and Brazil from today.
Google said it has signed 200 publications from Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, the U.K. and Australia to participate in the program.
“This financial commitment—our biggest to date—will pay publishers to create and curate high-quality content for a different kind of online news experience,” he said.
“Google News Showcase is a new product that will benefit both publishers and readers: It features the editorial curation of award-winning newsrooms to give readers more insight on the stories that matter, and in the process, helps publishers develop deeper relationships with their audiences.”
The News Showcase includes story panels, which will first appear in Google News on Android. It will soon launch for Google News on iOS and will comes to Google Discover and Search “in the future”.
While this is not the first time Google has offered to pay publishers, the News Showcase is designed to encourage editorial freedom, said Pichai
“This approach is distinct from our other news products because it leans on the editorial choices individual publishers make about which stories to show readers and how to present them,” he said.
In Australia, Google is hoping to resolve the proposed News Media Bargaining Code before it introduces the News Showcase.
“As we’ve previously said, as we work to understand the impacts of the news media bargaining code on partnerships and products, we have put this project on pause for now,” said Google Australia & New Zealand managing director.
“Although our concerns about the code are serious, we hope they can be resolved so we can bring News Showcase to Australia soon, as we believe the program will help publishers grow their audience and contribute towards the overall sustainability of our Australian news partners.”
News Corp – which has long argued Google should pay for news content – has been quick to applaud the move.
“We applaud Google’s recognition of a premium for premium journalism and the understanding that the editorial eco-system has been dysfunctional, verging on dystopian,” said News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson.
“There are complex negotiations ahead but the principle and the precedent are now established.”
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