Google Is Going to Start Paying UK Publishers for News

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  • Google has launched its News Showcase product in the U.K.
  • The tech giant will pay for news content that gets featured in the product.
  • Tech giants like Google and Facebook have come under increasing pressure to pay media companies for their content.

LONDON — Google announced Wednesday it has launched its News Showcase product in the U.K., meaning the tech giant will now pay for news content in the country for the first time.

The Silicon Valley firm has signed a deal with 120 British publications, including The Financial Times and Reuters, who will be paid a licensing fee to produce news extracts that appear in Google News Showcase. Reports suggest publishers will receive a few million dollars a year from Google.  

The feature will sit in the Google News mobile app and Google Discover, which is a feed curated by Google on mobile devices containing articles and videos.

When users click on the extracts in the Google News app or on Google Discover they'll be taken to the full article on the publisher's site.

"Google News Showcase, our new product experience and licensing program for news, will begin rolling out with local, national and independent publishers in the U.K.," said Ronan Harris, vice president and managing director at Google U.K. and Ireland, in a blog Wednesday.

"As part of our licensing agreements with publishers, we're also launching the ability for readers to access select paywall content. This feature will give readers the opportunity to read more of a publisher's content than they would otherwise have access to, while enabling publishers to encourage readers to become a subscriber."

Worldwide, Google has convinced 450 news publications to produce content for Google News Showcase.

The feature has also been launched in Australia, Germany, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, and Argentina. Google said discussions are underway in several other countries.

Long-running battle

Tech giants like Facebook and Google have come under increasing pressure to pay media companies for their content.

Last October, Google said it will pay publishers $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 for the right to link to their content in news feeds or search results, Google threatened to pull its widely used search engine from the country.

The proposed law in Australia is dubbed the news media bargaining code and it's targeted specifically at Google and Facebook. It would force tech giants to negotiate payments with local publishers and broadcasters for content included in search results or news feeds. If they cannot strike a deal, a government-appointed arbitrator will decide the price.

Google has been lobbying hard against the code, calling it "unreasonable" and "unworkable."

"Coupled with the unmanageable financial and operational risk if this version of the Code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia," Mel Silva, managing director for Google Australia and New Zealand, told a Senate committee in Australia last month.

Scott Morrison, the Australian prime minister, told a press conference "we don't respond to threats."

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