Google News returns to Spain after a seven-year absence

The service was pulled in 2014 ahead of a change to the country's copyright law.

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A picture taken in Madrid on August 9, 2021 shows the front pages of Spanish newspapers showing Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi crying during a press conference in Barcelona the day before. - Messi is expected to head to the French capital, lured by the limitless funds of Paris Saint-Germain, having said a tearful farewell to Barcelona after 21 years. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP) (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)
PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU via Getty Images

Google News will once again be available in Spain in early 2022 after the country's government introduced a Royal Decree that changes its online copyright laws. In short, Google will be able to negotiate licensing fees with individual publishers, rather than paying all of them. That brings Spain's rules in line with a European Union framework.

In December 2014, Google shut down its News service in the country just before a law came into force that would have forced the company to pay publishers for using any of their content, including headlines, in the News tab. Publishers weren't able to opt out. Now, they have the choice, and Google can determine whether or not to pay them after the country implemented the European Copyright Directive.

Soon after Google closed News in Spain, a group representing newspapers in the country urged the government to act and get Google to restore the service. The Spanish Newspaper Publishers' Association said that losing News would "undoubtedly have a negative impact" on the public and publishers.

Google says the return of News will provide readers in Spain find coverage on stories from a range of publications and help to fight misinformation. It claims the move will be beneficial to publishers and journalists as well in terms of more visibility for their work and driving traffic to their websites.

In addition, the company plans to bring Google News Showcase to Spain. That's a product and program designed to curate high-quality news from publishers in Google News and Discover, and pays them for it. Google has also paid some publishers to offer some of their paywalled stories in Showcase at no cost to readers.

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