Google unveils new publishing tools in olive branch to publishers

Fairfax Media has been named a launch partner in Subscribe with Google, one of the key planks in the Google News Initiative launched overnight.

In the search giant’s latest attempt to support publishers and journalism, the GNI will see Google, which earned $US110bn in revenues last year, invest $US300m in media projects over the next three years along with projects to “promote journalism in a digital age.”

The initiative boasts three key features: improved features on Google’s own services to fight fake news, $300m for project collaborations, and features to improve publishers’ viability.

Subscribe With Google is the key part of the package aimed at improving publishers’ revenues, featuring a one-click subscription to publications including Fairfax, the New York Times, the FT, and Japan’s Mainichi.

A Fairfax spokesperson told Mumbrella: “We’re thrilled to be the leading Australian publisher working alongside Google. Fairfax is in the box seat to benefit, including from the several Google News Initiatives announced overnight.

“The Subscribe with Google initiative helps make it as easy as possible for our readers to support the journalism they trust and value most. It radically simplifies subscriptions across devices and services. It’s an elegant solution and the result of the open and productive way in which Google has engaged the news media industry to deliver meaningful innovation.”

Google’s latest initiative follows the collapse of the company’s First Click Free program and the revamp of its publisher tools last October.

In a blog post published this morning, Google’s chief business officer Philipp Schindler, wrote: “We need to do more. That’s why we’re launching the Google News Initiative(GNI), our effort to help journalism thrive in the digital age.

“The GNI signifies a major milestone in Google’s 15-year commitment to the news industry, and will bring together everything we do in collaboration with the industry—across products, partnerships, and programs—to help build a stronger future for news.”

The $US300m media fund is a successor to the Google Digital News Innovation Fund launched in 2015 across the company’s EMEA operations. Mumbrella understands the balance of the €150m in that fund will be transferred to the new initiative.

As part of the focus on improving Google’s newsfeed, the company has committed to refining its search, news and YouTube algorithms to favour ‘authoritative sources’ over relevance.

The company will also launch a ‘Disinformation Lab’ to combat political disinformation which will be run with partner First Draft at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center.

One of the other features in fighting disinformation will be a US$10m campaign to support global digital information literacy.

The company also announced a range of tools for journalists and publishers including Google Cloud for News giving small and midsize news organisations around the world G Suite and Google Cloud Platform credits, training and support.

Other journalism tools include Outline from Jigsaw, an open source tool that acts like a purpose-built corporate VPN to let journalists safely access the internet and keep their communications secure, AI tools for journalists, and AMP Stories, a new open visual storytelling format build on AMP.

The company also announced ‘synthetic media’ detection tools that can be used by academics working to train detection models of voice and video media that have been digitally altered.

Mumbrella has contacted Fairfax for comment on its involvement in the Google News Initiative.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.