Info-tech

Google News Showcase launched in India

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on May 18, 2021

BusinessLine is part of Google News Showcase in India

The Hindu Group publications part of Showcase

Google has announced the launch of its new online experience Google News Showcase in India. It will also expand its programmes under the Google News Initiative in the country.

The Hindu Group publications - BusinessLine, The Hindu and Frontline - are part of the Google News Showcase.

“The Indian news industry and journalists are embracing technology to engage with readers and make data-driven decisions to improve their business and reporting efforts. We believe it’s important that digital platforms contribute to a sustainable, independent and diverse news ecosystem, working with journalists, news outlets and news associations,” said Sanjay Gupta, Vice-President, Google India.

“News Showcase is just one part of our overall commitment to the large and diverse Indian news ecosystem. Today, we’re also announcing the expansion of our Google News Initiative efforts to bolster journalist training efforts, and new programmes to support over 800 small and mid-sized publications to achieve financial sustainability with training in audience development and product innovation to support business success for news organisations,” added Gupta.

Paywalled content

Google is launching Google News Showcase, its new online experience and licensing programme in India with 30 news publishers including national, regional and local news organisations.

The experience helps news publishers curate high-quality content on Google’s News and Discover platforms. It is rolling out in India with partner publishers such as The Hindu Group, HT Digital Streams Ltd, Indian Express Group, ABP LIVE, India TV, NDTV, Zee News, Amar Ujala, Deccan Herald, Punjab Kesari, The Telegraph India, IANS (Indo Asian News Service) and ANI.

Brad Bender, VP, Product, News, Google, said, “Today’s announcement comes at a particularly challenging moment in India, with Indians seeking out authoritative news and information as the Covid crisis deepens. To support news organisations and readers, we’re introducing Google News Showcase, our new online experience and licensing programme. This programme incentivises and supports news publishers to curate high-quality content on Google News and Discover platforms, connecting readers with the news they need.”

Launched last October, the news showcase is part of Google’s billion-dollar global investment towards supporting quality journalism.

“News showcase panels highlight the articles publishers want to allow them to give additional context about a story, so audiences can better understand what's going on around them,” explained Bender.

Newspapers demand Google should start paying them back for their journalism

As part of its licensing agreements with publishers, Google will be paying participating news organisations to give readers access to a limited amount of paywalled content.

“This feature means readers will have the opportunity to read more of a publisher’s articles than they would otherwise be able to while deepening readers’ relationships with publishers and encouraging them to subscribe,” Google said.

In English and Hindi, initially

Bender further explained that the licensing agreement can take two forms. The first is the editorial curation of the content. Another part of the licensing fee that some publishers have engaged with is in effect for Google to pay on behalf of users. It is working on the specifics of the same with each publisher individually.

It is currently rolling out the experience in English and Hindi with more Indic languages to be incorporated in the future. Content from its Indian publisher partners in English and Hindi will begin to appear in dedicated News Showcase panels in Google News and on Discover.

Google News opens relief fund for news organisations

This builds on News Showcase deals signed by 700 news publications in over a dozen countries, including Germany, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, the UK, Australia, Italy and Argentina.

Google News Initiative

It has also announced the expansion of its Google News Initiative efforts in India. Google News Initiative is a $300-million effort launched by Google in 2018 for the news industry.

In India, the tech major will be “stepping up” its work to strengthen digital skills in newsrooms and journalism schools across India.

“Over the next three years, with increased support from the News Lab, we’ll train 50,000 journalists and journalism students. We’ll focus on digital tools to aid verification and combat misinformation online, and we’ll expand our programmes to connect Indian journalists and fact-checkers,” Google said.

Training workshops

It will also be introducing several new programmes to help small and mid-sized publications achieve financial sustainability as part of the GNI Digital Growth Program. The programme has already trained executives at 100 Indian news organisations since launching last year.

The new programmes include new virtual business training workshops for organisations to help them “address the needs of their audiences, grow their readership and deepen reader engagement.”

These workshops will be available for free to Indian publishers.

It also includes access to the GNI Advertising Lab, which includes training sessions and implementation support to help over 800 small and mid-sized Indian news organisations grow their digital ad revenue and the GNI Transformation Lab. GNI Transformation Lab is a more comprehensive programme for 20 local small and mid-sized Indian news organisations to help them succeed online. The selection criteria for these organisations and other entails will be announced later this year.

Support during Covid

“In 2018, we launched the GNI India Training Network in partnership with BoomLive, DataLeads and Internews. To date, it has trained over 25,000 Indian journalists in 10 languages, touching more than 1,000 news organisations and more than 700 universities,” Google said.

It has also provided financial support to 228 news organisations in India in response to Covid-19 through the GNI Journalism Emergency Relief Fund, it further said.

Published on May 18, 2021

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