- Google will launch a news service that curates and licenses “high quality” journalism, the company announced on Thursday.
- It hasn’t said when the new service will launch, but has already signed partnerships with publications in Germany, Brazil, and Australia.
- From what the company has said about the new service, it sounds a lot like Apple News.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Google announced on Thursday it will be launching a rival to Apple News.
“Today, we are announcing a licensing program to pay publishers for high-quality content for a new news experience launching later this year,” Google’s VP of product for news Brad Bender wrote in a blog post.
According to Bender, the company has already signed deals with a number of publishers in Germany, Brazil, and Australia.
This new news service, which looks like it would work similarly to Apple News, would allow Google to license a select number of articles from news partners, neatly ringfencing who it’s paying for news.
Google hasn’t given further details about what this “new news experience” will look like or what its business model will be. By comparison, Apple has a free news service called Apple News, which aggregates news articles on a dedicated app. There’s also a paid tier called Apple News Plus, which offers additional magazine and premium content.
It sounds like Google is keen to work with publishers who offer premium, paywalled content.
Bender wrote: “Where available, Google will also offer to pay for free access for users to read paywalled articles on a publisher’s site. This will let paywalled publishers grow their audiences and open an opportunity for people to read content they might not ordinarily see.”
He was not specific about when the finished product would be announced other than it will happen “later this year.”
The announcement suggests Google is trying to counter accusations by publishers that the company is killing journalism, rather than helping foster it.
The search and ads giant has been resistant to proposed legislation from countries that would force it to license links to news articles and websites, sometimes referred to as a “link tax.”
In 2018 the company said it could withdraw its news service from European countries entirely if such laws were imposed. It did exactly this in 2014 when Spain passed legislation forcing aggregation sites to pay for news links.
Bender added in Thursday’s announcement: “Alongside other companies, governments and civic society organizations, we’re committed to playing our part to support news businesses. Today’s undertaking exemplifies that, and we look forward to what we can all achieve together.”
Google CEO Sundar Pichai also tweeted about the announcement: “For decades we have worked with publishers to grow audiences and build value. We continue that progress today with the introduction of a licensing program to pay publishers for high-quality content.
—Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) June 25, 2020