Amidst the dark clouds of a threatened European Union investigation into its search business, Google has forged a digital partnership with eight European publishers.
Under the Digital News Initiative, Google has pledged to give €150m to European news publishers and journalism-focused start-ups over the next three years.
The idea is to help these organisations raise money from their online coverage and comes after years of publishers complaining about how Google uses their content online, in particular with Google News.
Google said that it will help the publishers increase revenue, traffic and audience engagement.
But could it be a case of too little too late?
Google’s troubled relationship with the EU
The European Union is currently EU comes down on Google whether Google had abused its 90pc market share to illegally promote its products and services.
While on the face of it, it looks like a kind of olive branch, Google News is not affected by the EU investigation.
As part of the plan, Google is to establish a working group to focus on product development over the next three years.
Publishers already involved in the initiative include the Financial Times, The Guardian, Spain’s El Pais and Germany’s Die Zeit, to name a few.
Conspicuously absent are publications belonging to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Berlin-based Axel Springer, which has fought to highlight the impact of Google on Germany’s publishing industry.
“Through the Digital News Initiative, Google will work hand-in-hand with news publishers and journalism organisations to help develop more sustainable models for news,” said Carlo D’Asaro Biondo, president of strategic relationships for Google in Europe.
“This is just the beginning, and we invite others to join us.”
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