Google said Thursday that it will launch its long-delayed “News Showcase” in the US this summer, a new feature that highlights featured content from news organizations, in an effort that it says will help support those outlets.
The tech giant was not specific about when it will start the feature, which will appear in Google News and Discover. While it said the effort is backed by partnerships with more than 150 news publications across the country, 90% of them local or regional, it did not say how much money the effort could funnel to those outlets.
“Our goal is to help them build sustainable businesses, connect with readers and engage audiences,” Chris Jansen, Google’s head of local news, said Thursday in a blog post announcing the launch.
Jansen did not name a date but said the News Showcase would launch “later this summer.”
The effort was first announced by Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai in 2020, when he promised a “new kind of news experience” that would benefit both readers and news organizations. Since then, Google has signed more than 2,300 publications worldwide to the licensing program and expanded to 22 countries globally, but efforts to negotiate with some publishers delayed the US launch, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Jansen described the Showcase as displaying selecting important stories selected by journalists, which are included in curated panels that add “useful context to help readers understand key issues.”
The panels appear in Google News and Discover, and readers who click are brought directly to full articles on the news publisher’s website. “This helps publishers deepen relationships with their audiences and gives them more direct control of presentation and branding,” Jansen wrote.
What’s key is that “we’re also paying participating news organizations to give readers access to a limited amount of their paywalled content,” he continued. “This access means readers will have the opportunity to read more of a publisher’s articles than they would otherwise be able to, encouraging them to learn more about the publication — and potentially subscribe.”
US News Showcase partners are based in 39 states, the post said, and include publications from the Duluth News Tribune in Minnesota to NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune in Louisiana, La Opinión in California and Orlando Weekly in Florida. Global news organizations like The Associated Press, Bloomberg, Reuters and national publications like The Wall Street Journal are also in the mix.
News Corp., which owns the Journal, The New York Post, Barron’s and MarketWatch, inked a deal last year with Google for its news, along with that of its Australian publications, to appear on Showcase. The New York Times has also reportedly signed a deal that will pay it around $100 million a year, The Journal reported.
Other efforts that Jansen outlined as part of Google’s $1 billion “News Initiative” include financial grants and training that will be distributed via five news associations to nearly 1,000 local publications across the country. “This funding will help local publishers overcome tech challenges, and create strategies and tactics for driving audience growth, individual giving and sponsorship revenue,” Jansen wrote.
Publishers that are members of Local Independent Online News Publishers, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, National Association of Hispanic Publications, Association of Alternative Newsmedia and Institute for Nonprofit News are eligible to apply for the grants. Around 80% of these member publications have 10 or fewer employees, Jansen said.
Google also updated its “Following” tab to help local publications surface more frequently on Google News, the post said.