Google pledges $300M for news initiative

By Daniel Uria  |  March 20, 2018 at 6:18 PM
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March 20 (UPI) -- Google pledged $300 million Tuesday to start a new initiative to "elevate and strengthen quality journalism" throughout the next three years.

The campaign to be known as the Google News Initiative includes programs to combat the spread of false information and to drive subscriptions to news publications, Google Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler wrote in a blog post.

"The commitments we're making through the Google News Initiative demonstrate that news and quality journalism is a top priority for Google," Schindler wrote. "We know that success can only be achieved by working together, and we look forward to collaborating with the news industry to build a stronger future for journalism."

As part of the initiative Schindler said Google is creating a Disinfo Lab alongside the Harvard Kennedy School's First Draft to combat misinformation during elections and breaking news event when the company said "bad actors" often attempt to target Google platforms to spread inaccurate content.

In addition to the Disinfo Lab, Google plans to create a "Top News" shelf on its video platform YouTube to highlight relevant content from verified news sources.

Google also pledged to collaborate with Poynter Institute, Stanford University and the Local Media Association to launch a U.S. project designed to improve digital information literacy for young consumers to be known as MediaWise.

The company also launched a pair of tools to help news outlets drive subscriptions and provide journalists more secure access to the internet.

Subscribe with Google allows readers to subscribe to news outlets throughout Google platforms. The company said it is also testing a "Propensity to Subscribe" feature that will allow outlets to recognize potential subscribers based on machine learning data.

The other tool known as Outline is designed to make it easy for news organizations to set up their own virtual private networks or VPNs.

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