Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, speaks to the media before the opening of the Berlin representation of Google Germany on January 22, 2019 in Berlin.
Carsten Koall | Getty Images News | Getty Images
LONDON – Google announced on Wednesday that it had launched its News Showcase product in the UK, meaning the tech giant will now pay for news content in the country for the first time.
The Silicon Valley company has signed a contract with 120 UK publications, including The Financial Times and Reuters, to pay a license fee to produce news digest items on Google News Showcase. According to reports, publishers receive several million dollars a year from Google.
The feature will be included in the Google News mobile app and in Google Discover, a feed curated by Google on mobile with articles and videos.
When users click the excerpts in the Google News app or Google Discover, they are directed to the full article on the publisher’s website.
“Google News Showcase, our new product experience and news licensing program, is rolling out with local, national and independent publishers in the UK,” said Ronan Harris, Vice President and Managing Director of Google UK and Ireland, on a blog on Wednesday.
“As part of our licensing agreements with publishers, we also offer readers the opportunity to access selected paywall content. This feature allows readers to read more content from a publisher than they would otherwise, while enabling publishers to encourage readers to become subscribers.”
Google has convinced 450 news publications worldwide to produce content for the Google News Showcase.
The feature has also been introduced in Australia, Germany, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, and Argentina. Google said discussions are ongoing in several other countries.
Long lasting battle
Technology giants like Facebook and Google have come under increasing pressure to pay media companies for their content.
Last October, Google announced that publishers would pay $ 1 billion for news over the next three years.
However, when the Australian government proposed a new law that would force Google and Facebook to pay news publishers the right to link to their content in news feeds or search results, Google threatened to pull its widely used search engine out of the country.
The bill proposed in Australia is known as the News Media Negotiation Code and is specifically aimed at Google and Facebook. This would force tech giants to negotiate payments with local publishers and broadcasters for content found in search results or news feeds. If they can’t strike a deal, a government-appointed arbitrator will decide the price.
Google has been harshly against the code, calling it “unreasonable” and “impractical”.
“Coupled with the unmanageable financial and operational risk of this version of the Code becoming law, we have no choice but to make Google search unavailable in Australia,” said Mel Silva, general manager of Google Australia and New Zealand . told a Senate committee in Australia last month.
Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, said at a press conference: “We do not respond to threats.”