European publishers have long chastised Google for allegedly hurting their bottom line, but the internet giant is now trying to meet them half way. It's launching a partnership with eight news outlets (including the UK's Financial Times and Guardian) that will develop publisher-friendly products and create a €150 million ($163 million) "innovation fund." The hope is that the collaboration will keep journalism viable in an era where you can sometimes get the gist of a story through a simple web search.
Of course, whether or not this makes a practical difference is another matter. The team-up only includes large news organizations, and it's not certain that indies will reap any benefits. Also, there's a big gap between throwing money at a problem and getting a practical, mutually acceptable solution. It won't be surprising if there's a deadlock at some point. Still, this beats the frequently antagonistic relationship that Google and publishers have had before -- even if it probably won't do much to ease the minds of EU antitrust investigators.
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