Google will pay for news content from select publishers as part of a new licensing program announced today. It says the content will form part of a “new news experience” coming later this year, launching first on its Google News and Discover services. In some cases, Google says it could offer free access to paywalled articles by paying content owners on the user’s behalf.
Google says it’s starting the program with publishers in Germany, Australia, and Brazil, but says that it’s got “more to come soon.” Publishing partners include Der Spiegel in Germany, and Schwartz Media in Australia, according to the Financial Times.
Google’s announcement comes after multiple countries have stepped up efforts to have the search giant compensate publishers for the news content it links to. Australia recently unveiled plans to force tech platforms to help pay for the free content they profit from. In April, France’s competition authority ordered Google to pay for content from French publishers.
Google’s announcement comes as Facebook has just launched a new news tab in the US in which it pays some participating publishers for their work. Stories are curated by a team of human editors, and publishing partners include BuzzFeed, the New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Facebook is reportedly looking to expand this news tab to Europe.
However, the FT notes that such schemes have been criticized for only including some publishers and for not paying enough. Some would reportedly prefer legal backing to such initiatives, rather than relying on the goodwill of large tech firms.
In comments published by Google, Spiegel Group managing director Stefan Ottlitz said its partnership with Google “will allow us to create an experience that will bring our award-winning editorial voice into play, broaden our outreach and provide trusted news in a compelling way across Google products.” The FT notes that Google’s announcement did not disclose the financial terms of its deals.