Google will launch a new licensing program later this year to pay publishers

Google last year considered ending its news service in Europe after the European Union issued a directive requiring internet platforms to pay publishers for their content used in search results. Now, the company is having a change of heart.

The search giant announced today that it is launching a licensing program later this year to pay publishers for "high-quality content". Google has already teamed up with local and national publications including Germany's Spiegel, InQueensland and InDaily in Australia, and Brazil's Diarios Associados. The partnership will be expanded to other countries in the next few months.

There are two aspects of the program. One is where Google will pay participating publishers to include their content in a new news service launching later in 2020. Brad Bender, Vice President for Product Management at Google News, explained:

"This program will help participating publishers monetize their content through an enhanced storytelling experience that lets people go deeper into more complex stories, stay informed and be exposed to a world of different issues and interests. We will start with publishers in a number of countries around the globe, with more to come soon."

The new news experience will appear in Google News and Discover, which displays a curated list of articles on Android devices. Google also plans to pay for paywalled articles to make these accessible to consumers for free. The goal is to help publishers grow the audience for their premium content.

Today's announcement expands the Mountain View-based company's efforts to support news businesses through the Google News Initiative. A recent example was when it announced the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund to help local news firms affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Those local publishers are set to receive monetary aid ranging from a few thousands of dollars.

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