Today, Google announced plans to invest $1 billion in partnerships with news publishers. With that money, Google will pay publishers to curate content for a new product, the Google News Showcase. This should ensure that users get high-quality content, and it appears to be Google’s latest effort to improve its relationship with publishers.
Tech companies like Google and Facebook are sometimes blamed for the demise of the news industry, and both have been figuring out ways to promote quality content, especially in the face of rampant fake news. In June, Google said it would pay publishers for high-quality journalism, but we didn’t know how much the company would commit. In 2018, Google invested $300 million in fighting fake news and promoting reliable journalism. It’s also done things like waive ad servicing fees for publishers and offer free G-Suite licenses to small-scale journalism.
But Google is currently involved in legal fights in Australia and France over whether it should pay for news. This $1 billion fund might be an attempt to contribute to the news industry and potentially skirt new laws that would otherwise force the company to do so. It might also prevent legal battles in other countries.
Google News Showcase is launching in Germany and Brazil today. Google has already signed partnerships with nearly 200 publications in Argentina, Australia, Canada and the UK, so we can expect to see the service in those countries sooner rather than later. Google News Showcase will appear on Android first, but Google says it will launch on iOS eventually. It will also make its way to Google Discover and Search.