Google launches News Showcase in Australia as it battles the controversial media code
In its bid to support journalism and help users find quality news, Google last year announced a new program called News Showcase, which pays participating news publishers a monthly fee for distributing high-quality content on Google’s news products. In December, Google rolled out some new updates to the program, giving users free access to select paywalled stories. Today, the search giant is launching the News Showcase in Australia.
In the first wave, Google has partnered up with seven local Australian publishers to bring curated news content on Google News on Android, mobile web, and Discover on iOS. Google says it plans to bring News Showcase to “Search as well as the other surfaces of Google News and Discover” soon.
The list of Australian publishers who have signed up for News Showcase includes The Canberra Times, The Illawarra Mercury, The Saturday Paper Crikey, The New Daily, InDaily, and The Conversation, with Google planning to bring even more partners on board in the coming months.
Participating News Showcase publishers receive a set monthly fee for curating their articles for News Showcase, and in some cases for providing access to articles behind their paywall so that readers can see the value of becoming subscribers and publishers can build a relationship with readers.
This development comes when Google is engaged in a dispute with the Australian government, which is planning to proceed with a new bill that would make Google and Facebook pay publishers for their news content. Earlier, Google had said it would have no real choice but to withdraw its search service from Australia if the new law came into effect. However, tensions have appeared to ease down after Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai met with Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday.
News Showcase displays curated stories from publishers on swipeable cards called “story panels”. Articles featured here are selected daily, and users can follow their favorite publishers. Publishers have direct control over things like branding and the presentation of stories. The News Showcase currently has over 450 publications across a dozen countries, including the U.K., Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, and Japan.