Google to pay $1 billion over 3 years for news content

LONDON — Google will pay publishers $1 billion over the next three years for their news content.

The internet search giant said today that it has signed agreements for its news partnership program with nearly 200 publications in Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, the U.K. and Australia.

“This financial commitment – our biggest to date – will pay publishers to create and curate high-quality content for a different kind of online news experience,” CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post.

Today, Google’s News Showcase is launching in Brazil and Germany, featuring story panels that let publishers package stories with features like timelines. It will appear first on Google News on Android, then Apple iOS, before it is rolled out to Google Discover and Search.

The funding builds on a news licensing program launched by Google in June, as it seeks defuse tensions with the beleaguered news industry. News companies want Google, and its Silicon Valley rival Facebook, to pay for the news content that they siphon from commercial media while taking the lion’s share of ad revenue.

Skeptics remain, however.

The European Publishers Council said it’s an attempt by Google to stave off legislation and government action to get them to negotiate.

“Many are quite cynical about Google’s perceived strategy,” said Angela Mills Wade, executive director of the council. “By launching a product, they can dictate terms and conditions, undermine legislation designed to create conditions for a fair negotiation, while claiming they are helping to fund news production.”