Google on Tuesday announced that it is launching its News Showcase feature in India and is partnering with 30 news organisations. According to Google, the move is aimed at incentivising and supporting local publishers to curate high-quality content on the search engine's News and Discover platforms. This initiative is part of Google's investment campaign to support quality journalism in India.
Google has stated that it is also taking steps to strengthen the digital skills of news organisation and journalism schools in the country. Google is expanding its efforts under Google News Initiative (GNI) in India. With help from News Labs, it plans to train 50,000 journalists and journalism students.
"We are launching News Showcase now to help publishers reach people with trustworthy news, especially in this critical time with the Covid crisis continuing. News Showcase panels highlight the articles publishers want, allow them to give additional context about a story, so audiences can better understand what's going on around them," Google vice president (Product Management) Brad Bender said. Bender added these news panels ensure branding of the publisher and also drive all traffic back to the publishers' website. This helps in deepening the relationship between the reader and the publisher, he explained,
"We are also paying publishers for access to paywalled content to provide users free access to select content, enabling people to try content that they may not have otherwise seen on their journey to becoming a subscriber," he added.
Currently, 30 Indian publishers have partnered with Google for its New Showcase feature, this includes national, regional and local news organisation. Google is in talks with many more organisations in order to further expand the program.
Over 700 news publishers from over a dozen countries such as Germany, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, the UK, Australia, Czechia, Italy and Argentina have already signed deals with Google for its News Showcase feature.
"News has been a deep focus and commitment for Google and the company has been helping a large number of journalists and media players to reach out to customers," Google country head and vice president, India Sanjay Gupta said.
Gupta added that youngsters are leveraging digital means in order to access news. He added that this fact poses two significant challenges - monetisation and branding.
"We were very keen to get Showcase to India ... When you solve for India, you need to solve for languages in a very significant way and that's one capability that the product team was developing to help launch ... Over the last 8-9 months, we spent a lot of time talking to each one of the publisher partners to see how we can both enable them and work with them," he said.
Content of its publisher partners in English and Hindi languages will begin to appear in dedicated News Showcase panels in Google News and on Discover. Content in native languages will follow later.
(With PTI inputs)