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Google is paying publishers in the UK and various countries to utilize their content in their new news product. Here's why.

New agreement: Why is Google paying UK news sources for content?

Google announced yesterday that they were endeavoring to create a “new” news experience. The product is called Google News Showcase. It’s meant to be a feature that “helps publishers develop deeper relationships with their audiences”.

This announcement is interesting for a couple of reasons, and should excite news publishers around the world – although, perhaps, not any in the U.S.

Here’s what you need to know about the new Google feature, what it means, and why Australia might be rolling their eyes so hard they’re at risk of falling out.

What is News Showcase?

Google News Showcase is meant to be a way for the search engine to “curate high-quality content”. The product will feature articles from well respected news sources with ways to get more insight from the articles. This includes features such as timelines, bullet points of important information, & more. Publishers will supposedly be able to choose how their articles will be presented to readers.

It seems as if News Showcase will either replace or supplement the news feeds already existing such as Google News on Android phones. It’s also being said that the News Showcase feature will allow users to bypass certain paywalls to read articles they may not otherwise have access to.

This last bit is an exciting piece of news since many people have been lamenting the fact that “good” news from respectable news sources are often stuck behind paywalls, ultimately meaning that fewer people will read these articles compared to lower quality articles including sources that occasionally utilize misinformation.

What it means for publishers

This news is a big deal for news companies around the world. Hundreds of publishers in Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, the UK, & Australia will be paid for the usage of their content. This is a first for Google who has utilized snippets of articles and curated news for years without paying a dime to the media companies that write them.

Ronan Harris, the managing director for Google UK & Ireland said that “Google News Showcase, our new product experience and licensing program for news, will begin rolling out with local, national and independent publishers”.

In the next three years Google expects to pay approximately $1 billion to various publishers of news content to use their writing as part of the new Google News Showcase product.

The Australia thing

You’re probably wondering why we mentioned that Australia may be rolling their eyes right now. Recently there was concern that Google would be pulling out of the country of Australia altogether due to the fact that the country was – get this – demanding that Google pay publishers for their content.

Google threw a hissy fit, threatening to block their search engine from Australia altogether over the very notion. And yet, as it turns out, this deal that happened in the UK was very much already in the works – and close to the announcement – when this happened. And now, Australia is part of the News Showcase program.

What about the U.S.?

The United States was not mentioned in the Google CEO’s blog post, so it’s currently unknown if News Showcase will be available in the country. However, in the list of countries with companies being paid, the U.S. was conspicuously not on there.

It’s possible there are deals being worked on in the United States, but for the time being it appears they’re out of the loop on this one, which likely has a number of news publishers in the country feeling a little miffed at the moment.

What do you think? Does this new Google feature sound interesting or like a repackaging of a Google feature that already exists? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!

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