Google has always occupied a unique position when it comes to publishing the news. The company has never paid for anything it could obtain for free so have simply ripped off and recycled new stories with impunity, without paying a dime, cent or penny to the original publisher.
After all, the purpose of Google is not to actually provide any real information to anyone. Instead any news stories they publish are solely as a way to generate advertising content.
And although the links to the original publisher are usually present, because you can get the gist of the story via Google rewriting, the result is that most browsers stay on the page and use Google’s version of the news as their main resource for news.
Recently Google has tried to clean up their act and gain more credibility in the publishing world. They launched a new initiative in 2020 with the Google News Showcase, paying $1 billion to publishers in the US for licensed content.
The scheme was first rolled out in the US but has spread to other countries across the world, including the UK, Germany, France and Australia.
In the UK, The Google Showcase was launched in February 2021 meaning that for the first time the tech giant will have to pay for their news sources. Participating publishing companies include international news agency Reuters and the Financial Times. Other companies in other countries have followed suit.
For consumers, this means that when you click on a news story, you will be taken to the publisher’s site in order to read the news article in its entirety and in its original format.
Google has negotiated with publishers who use a firewall to protect their content, making more available to users who will no longer have to go through the rigmarole of signing up for a free trial or paying for content.
Worldwide, Google has convinced 450 news publications to produce content for Google News Showcase.
This comes at the end of a long running battle between Google and some of the participating countries. Only three years ago Australia insisted that Google should pay publishers for news content and were warned by the tech giant that if they proceeded, Google would be made unavailable to Australian users.
The move towards Google paying for news content has long been overdue. So this news that the Google Showcase will finally credit the work of the various publishing houses is certainly welcome.