Global tech giant, Google is set to launch its News Showcase in India with 30 news organisations, a move that looks to incentivise and support publishers in the country to curate high-quality content on Google’s News and Discover platforms.
The tech giant is also planning to jack up its efforts to strengthen digital skills in newsrooms and journalism schools across India and has pledged to train 50,000 journalists and journalism students over the next three years.
“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.
According to Bender, the news panels will ensure branding and drive all traffic back to the website of the publishers that helps deepen the relationship with readers.
“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.
The Google News Showcase will be initially launched with 30 news publishers including national, regional and local news organisations. The company is in discussions with more news partners to further expand the offering.
This builds on News Showcase deals signed by 700 news publications in more than a dozen countries, including Germany, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, the UK, Australia, Czechia, Italy and Argentina.
According to Bender, Google sends 24 billion visits to news websites globally every month, helping people discover content via Google Search and also helps publishers monetise their platforms through a suite of products.
“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 also noted that while consumption of news across print, television and digital is growing, there are changing consumer habits wherein more young consumers are leveraging the reach of digital to access news and that this poses two significant challenges – branding and monetisation.
“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, Gupta said.
Further, the content from Google’s Indian publisher partners in English and Hindi will start appearing in dedicated News Showcase panels in Google News and on Discover, and additional Indic languages will follow later.
Google also plans to expand its efforts under Google News Initiative (GNI). Over the next three years, with increased support from the News Lab, the company intends to train 50,000 journalists and journalism students. Under the programme, Google has already trained executives at 100 Indian news organisations since its launch last year.
In 2018, Google had launched the GNI India Training Network in partnership with BoomLive, DataLeads and Internews. To date, it has trained over 25,000 Indian journalists in 10 languages, touching more than 1,000 news organisations and more than 700 universities.