Google announced its ‘News initiative’ on March 20th, putting forward a number of measures in support of digital publishers. The initiative has three broad goals -
- To evolve a sustainable business model for publishers
- To promote quality information and reduce fake news
- To empower publishers with technological tools.
The announcement was made at a press event in New York. Google’s Chief Business Officer, Philipp Schindler, made it clear that this initiative should not be seen as a ‘help’ from the tech giant. Google’s benefit out of this, he said, is two-fold. Google’s search thrives on quality content created by publishers. Moreover, their Doubleclick business is fully dependent on ads put on publisher’s websites. As he remarked -
“Only when publishers grow, we grow”
Evolving Sustainable Business Model -
Google is launching ‘Subscribe with Google’, aiming to optimise the whole process of subscription. Publishers need to partner with Google for this initiative. A user, logged in to their Google account, can then subscribe to their content at a click.
Promoting Quality Information and Reducing Fake News -
Google put forward the following measures to reduce fake news and increase news quality -
- In the event of breaking news, Google will surface content only from qualitative and authoritative publishers on its Top Stories sections.
- They are launching the Disinfo Lab, in partnership with Harvard Business school’s First Draft, to monitor misinformation during elections.
- They have tied up with Poynter Institute, Stanford University, launching ‘Mediawise’, to promote media literacy among teenagers. This will help the youngsters better distinguish between fake and real news.
Empowering Publishers with Technological Tools -
- A ‘Propensity to subscribe’ feature which will use Google’s data and Artificial Intelligence to identify potential subscribers and show them the right subscription offer at the right time.
- They are working on making AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) better, launching a story like format for image, video and animation rich content.
- A new consumer insight dashboard in Google Analytics to track subscriptions and analyze subscription data.
- Google cloud voice APIs for interview transcriptions.
- They are launching Outline, an open source tool for providing journalist secure internet access, thus preventing any information leak.
The News Initiative is a $300 million venture spread over a course of three years. Google said that they are not looking for any profit from these initiatives and will only be looking to cover their operating costs.
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