Google, under its Digital News Initiative, announced plans to associate with eight European publishers, including the Financial Times, The Guardian, Spain’s El Pais and Germany’s Die Zeit. In 2013, the U.S. company offered a similar program to support French media organizations to resolve an issue regarding its rights to feature headlines and information from these news sites on its Google News platform.
Aims to develop sustainable news models
Under the new initiative, Google will provide funds of about $163 million to selected European news companies in order to aid its efforts for earning money through its own online publishing forums. Moreover, the program will assist the companies in evaluating ways to increase their revenues through ads, paywalls, apps and data analytics, along with providing digital training to their journalists. In addition, the Digital Initiative will focus on product development that will, as Google claims, “increase revenue, traffic and audience engagement.”
In response to Google’s recently announced plan, a few publishers have praised the development, but also suggested that it would be more fruitful if it is launched globally. Tony Danker, director of The Guardian news and media, opined that the Digital Initiative will be considered successful if it brings about a “meaningful change to ensure journalism flourishes in the digital age.”
Is it an image building move from Google?
The move from the Internet giant is largely seen as an attempt to better its image following accusations made by European regulators two weeks ago.
However, according to The Guardian, some company insiders believe that with the Digital initiative, Google is not seeking any good publicity, especially after it was accused of monopolizing online advertising. Actually, not long ago, European regulators indicted Google on charges of hampering internet search results, deeming the company’s actions as “anti-competitive.” An investigation into the matter is being conducted by the European Union, which is expected to strengthen the restrictions on the methods used by technology companies to exploit users’ personal data.
Also news companies have for a long time moaned about the effects of Google’s use of their data. Moreover, the company has been accused of launching new products, for instance, its search optimization changes, without any consultations, though the company’s CEO has recognized this and vowed to go more European in the future.