San Francisco– Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Thursday announced the company’s biggest $1 billion investment for the future of news, in partnerships with news publishers that would pay them to create and curate high-quality content for better online news experience.

Pichai launched Google News Showcase that features the editorial curation of award-winning newsrooms to give readers more insight on the stories that matter, and in the process, helps publishers develop deeper relationships with their audiences.

“We’ve signed partnerships for News Showcase with nearly 200 leading publications across Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, the UK and Australia. The number of news publications will grow as we work to expand News Showcase to other countries including India, Belgium and the Netherlands,” Pichai said in a blog post.

Google News Showcase will start rolling out in Germany and Brazil from Thursday and come to other countries where local frameworks support these partnerships.

News Showcase is made up of story panels that will appear initially in Google News on Android.

The product will launch soon on Google News on iOS, and will come to Google Discover and Search in the future.

“Other components like video, audio and daily briefings will come next,” Pichai said.

The $1 billion investment is another step from Google to support the news industry.

The publications include award-winning national titles like Der Spiegel, Stern, Die Zeit, Folha de S.Paulo, Band and Infobae, alongside regionally and locally significant publications such as El Litoral, GZH, WAZ and SooToday.

The company said from sending 24 billion visits to news websites globally every month to the Google News Initiative’s (GNI) $300 million commitment, including emergency funding for local publishers globally to help with the impact of Covid-19, it is helping small and medium-sized publishers accelerate their business growth.

Google News Showcase, said Pichai, is distinct from other news products “because it leans on the editorial choices individual publishers make about which stories to show readers and how to present them”.

Google News Showcase builds on the existing news licensing programme, which is paying publishers for quality journalism and other news-related efforts like Subscribe with Google, Web Stories and audio news.

“Both Google News Showcase and our financial investment – which will extend beyond the initial three years – are focused on contributing to the overall sustainability of our news partners around the world,” Pichai said, adding that the company aims to play its part by helping journalism in the 21st century not just survive, but thrive.

“I have always valued quality journalism and believed that a vibrant news industry is critical to a functioning democratic society,” he said. (IANS)

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