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By Usama Jawad96
Google fined €500 million in France over lack of agreement with news publishers
by Usama Jawad
Google being fined in France is nothing new. Just last month, it reached a €220 million ($268 million) settlement with the country's antitrust watchdog over ad practices. Now, it has been fined more than double that amount, as it has been slapped with a €500 million ($592 million) penalty for failing to comply with the orders of French regulators.
The issue relates to Google failing to reach an agreement with France's news publishers as to how much it would pay them for displaying their content in its News Showcase program. For those unaware, Google News Showcase is a licensing program which allows publishers to monetize their content through "enhanced storytelling experiences". In some cases, Google may also pay publishers to expose paywalled articles so readers can read them for free. This not only allows publishers to reach a wider audience while being financially compensated but also enables consumers to view content that may not have been accessible to them otherwise. It is available in a few countries including the UK, Argentina, Australia, and India, among others.
Basically, French authorities imposed the fine because Google did not manage to reach an agreement with the country's top news publishers like APIG, SEPM, and AFP despite orders from regulators to hold talks within three months after a publisher requests them. The news agencies say that talks from Google were not held in good faith.
Apart from paying the hefty fine, Google is also required to present proposals about compensation plans for news agencies within the next two months, or face up to €900,000 ($1.07 million) per day once this deadline expires. The company had the following to say regarding the penalty:
Previous court documents have indicated that Google agreed to pay 121 news publishers a sum of €64 million ($76 million) over a period of three years to put an end to the case, but this offer was clearly not enough for French agencies. It remains to be seen if the tech giant will be able to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with French news outlets within the next couple of months.
By Usama Jawad96
Google News Showcase is now live in India
by Usama Jawad
Apart from presenting news from various publishers to relevant audiences, another responsibility of the Google News initiative is to support local news firms. To that end, the firm has set up relief funds and licensing programs to provide financial compensation to the local news industry in various countries.
Now, Google has announced that it is bringing News Showcase to India.
For those unaware, Google News Showcase is a new licensing program which allows publishers to monetize their content through an "enhanced storytelling experiences". In some cases, Google may also pay publishers to expose paywalled articles so readers can read them for free. This not only allows publishers to reach a wider audience while being financially compensated but also enables consumers to view content that may not have been accessible to them otherwise. The program is available in a few countries including the UK, Argentina, and Australia.
With News Showcase's launch in India, Google is partnering with over 30 Indian publishers such as The Telegraph India, Deccan Herald, ANI, The Hindu Group, and more. Content from these organizations will be presented in dedicated sections in Google News and Discover. As of now, only Hindi and English content will be promoted, but support for other languages will be added soon. Overall, Google News Showcase now supports over 700 publishers across more than a dozen countries where it's available.
That's not all, though. Google has announced several other programs for India as well. These include training 50,000 journalists and journalism students over the next three years and expanding its digital tooling to connect the Indian news industry to fact-checkers. The company went on to say that:
Google says that all of these endeavors will strengthen a diverse news ecosystem and empower publishers to make data-driven decisions as they get access to the company's advanced tooling and technology.
By Laurentiu A.
I have one question for all of you...
What is this ugly, beta, squared, badly pixelated THING on my taskbar?
It says News and interests and yes, I know its a new feature from Microsoft.
How can a billion dollar company, with thousands of employees and rich history in software, design this?
The sun icon looks very bad, the text that displays the weather is blurry and the app itself is sluggish.
How can they release something like this worldwide, without shame?
I am serious...
By Usama Jawad96
Following success in the U.S., Facebook News to launch in the U.K. next month
by Usama Jawad
Facebook began testing a news section dubbed "Facebook News" in the U.S. back in October 2019. As the name implies, this positioned itself as a dedicated tab containing a wide range of news articles, including the most relevant national stories of the day. Apart from using algorithms to highlight original content, it also depends upon a team of non-partisan curators who select stories to display in the "Today's Stories" section, based on public guidelines. Facebook says that the aim of the program is to allow publishers to reach a wider audience coupled with a wide variety of advertisement and subscription offers.
The program has apparently been successful, as the company has now announced that it will launch Facebook News in the U.K. in January 2021, as it hinted a couple of months ago.
In the first wave of rollout, Facebook will be partnering with over a dozen publishers, including The Economist, Archant, and Guardian Media Group. These publishers host numerous brands such as The Mirror, The Independent, GQ, Vogue, Tatler, and more.
Facebook says that the U.K. launch will allow local publishers to reach new audiences. It also enables consumers to discover new and diverse stories along with credible news reports during "major news cycles". With its launch earlier in the U.S., the company noticed that 95% of the traffic is from people who have never interacted with the publishers and their brands in the past.
Furthermore, in an effort to promote local journalism in the U.K., Facebook is extending its Community News Programme (CNP) in the country for one year. The program is responsible for training local journalists from diverse backgrounds. The company says:
The extension in this program also comes with an additional £2.25M ($3M) investment. Lastly, the firm has stated that it is in negotiations to bring Facebook News to Germany and France next, and will be expanding to more countries soon.
By Usman Khan Lodhi
Web Stories are now available on Google Discover
by Usman Khan Lodhi
Google is officially adding Web Stories to Discover in an attempt to make the familiar full-screen, tappable story format available to a wider web audience. The discover feed, available in the Google app on Android and iOS, attracts about 800 million users each month. Until now, it had been populated by relevant news stories and articles, but the Mountain View firm is now adding a "Stories" carousel.
Browsing Stories is straightforward, as it requires users to tap to move forward to the next page, and if they want to check a different Story in the carousel, they need to swipe. Google notes that the experience is "full-screen and immersive." In addition to rolling out the feature on Google Discover, the firm will work to make Stories surface more regularly across Google Search results on mobile.
The carousel, situated at the top of Discover, is presently available in the U.S., Brazil, and India. Google notes in the blog post that it intends to expand the feature to more countries and products. The firm said it "worked with a diverse group of publishes and creation tools" in the three countries to jumpstart the ecosystem, and resultantly, more than 2,000 sites have already published Web Stories on Google.