Google announced today that it's working on a "new news experience" that will launch later this year, for which it will pay publishers to license their content.
Axios broke the news, with Google's Brad Bender offering more details in a blog post, in which he said the project will first launch on Google News and Discover, and will "help participating publishers monetize their content through an enhanced storytelling experience that lets people go deeper into more complex stories, stay informed and be exposed to a world of different issues and interests."
The extent to which the large internet platforms generally — and Google specifically — pay publishers has often been a contentious topic. Both Facebook and Google have bankrolled sizable news initiatives that combine direct funding for journalism with new products, research and partnerships. However, some publishers and regulators have also pressed Google to pay for including snippets of news content in search results.
"While we’ve previously funded high-quality content, this program is a significant step forward in how we will support the creation of this kind of journalism," Bender said. "To start, we have signed partnerships with local and national publications in Germany, Australia and Brazil."
The blog post mentions Germany's Spiegel Group, Australia's InQueensland and InDaily and Brazil's Diarios Associados as some of the participating publishers. Apparently Google is also offering to pay publishers to provide free access to otherwise paywalled content.
"We are always keen to explore innovative ways to attract readers to our high-quality content,” said Spiegel Group Managing Director Stefan Ottlitz in a statement. “This interesting new partnership with Google will allow us to curate an experience that will bring our award-winning editorial voice into play, broaden our outreach and provide trusted news in a compelling way across Google products.”