Google is committing to giving publishers $1 billion to create and curate content for a new product the company is calling Google News Showcase.
The move comes amid long-simmering tension between Big Tech and media organizations. Publishers argue they aren’t properly compensated for their premium coverage that appears in Google search and Google News.
In a blog post, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and its parent company Alphabet, wrote there is “more to do” to support journalism. He noted the company’s programs to support publishers: the Google News Initiative, which funds news organizations and the Digital Growth program, that targets small and midsized publishers.
The business model for newspapers has evolved as consumers have changed how they got the news, Pichai wrote.
“The internet has been the latest shift, and it certainly won’t be the last. Alongside other companies, governments and civic societies, we want to play our part by helping journalism in the 21st century not just survive, but thrive,” he continued.
The new program, which will be funded for at least three years, will have publishers feed so-called story panels that will appear on Google News on iOS, with rollout to come to Google Discover and Search.
The feature will allow media organizations to put their stories alongside Google’s news products. Pichai did not explain exactly how publishers will be compensated for taking part in the program, but The Wall Street Journal reported today that compensation will be based, in part, on how much media organizations contribute, not how much readers interact with particular stories or publishers.
Google has signed on more than 200 global partners and will be available to readers today in Brazil and Germany, with other countries to follow. That group also encompasses partners in Canada, Australia and the U.K., including Der Spiegel, Stern, Die Zeit, Folha de S.Paulo, Band and Infobae. The U.S. was not named in the release, and neither were any publications based here, but Google is “in talks” with potential partners, The Journal reported.
The new program comes as Google, valued at more than $1 trillion, navigates a pending lawsuit from the Department of Justice, which is reportedly investigating the company over its search dominance.