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Google News Showcase launched in India with 30 news publishers

News content will be available in English and Hindi in dedicated News Showcase panels in Google News and on Discover. Google plans to incorporate more Indian languages this year

Google rolled out its News Showcase in India, on Tuesday, with 30 news publishers including national, regional and local news organisations like The Hindu Group, HT Digital Streams Ltd, Indian Express Group, ABP LIVE, India TV, NDTV, Zee News, Amar Ujala, Deccan Herald, Punjab Kesari, The Telegraph India, IANS (Indo Asian News Service) and ANI.

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“Today’s announcement comes at a particularly challenging moment in India, with Indians seeking out authoritative news and information as the Covid19 crisis deepens… The program incentivises and supports news publishers to curate high quality content on Google’s News and Discover platforms, connecting readers with the news they need,” wrote Google in a blog post.

News content will be available in English and Hindi in dedicated News Showcase panels in Google News and on Discover. Google plans to incorporate more Indian languages this year.

As part of their licensing agreements, they will also be paying participating news organisations for paywalled content. This will give readers access to a limited amount of such content. “This feature means readers will have the opportunity to read more of a publisher’s articles than they would otherwise be able to, while deepening readers’ relationships with publishers and encouraging them to subscribe,” they stated.

Launched last October, it has signed deals with 700 publications and is now live in a dozen countries, including Germany, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, the UK, Australia, Czechia, Italy and Argentina,

News showcase is part of Google’s billion-dollar global investment towards supporting quality journalism. “These investments will help people find quality journalism, contribute to the sustainability of news organizations, and expand our programs under the Google News Initiative — enabling newsrooms to engage their readers in new and compelling ways through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” said Google in their blog.

“Google News Showcase is an excellent initiative by Google that lets publishers curate and surface factual and credible news content. It will enable serious publishers and news-seeking audiences to connect and engage in a meaningful way, taking a step closer towards sustainable growth models,” says Bharat Gupta, CEO of Jagran New Media, one of India’s largest media conglomerates.

“We are looking forward to working with Google on News Showcase. This, we believe, is one of many significant steps by Google towards creating a sustainable, mutually beneficial environment for both Google and independent journalism to thrive,” said Sanjay Sindhwani, CEO of Indian Express Online, one of largest print publishers in India.

“We are delighted to be a launch partner for Google News Showcase in India. The product comes at an opportune time for The India Today Group as we work to reach new readers and further engage our current readers with the stories that matter most to them,” said Kalli Purie, Vice-Chairperson, India Today Group, one of the largest national broadcaster and magazine publishers in India. “Over 45 years, The India Today Group has created a deep legacy of credibility, excellence, trust, and bi-partisanship. We want to be constantly innovating in the ways that we approach how our content is featured across the web. We look forward to working closely with Google and reaching a much wider audience for our brand of journalism."

“As an established media house, engaging with our audiences through quality content in convenient and innovative ways is a huge area of focus for us. We are pleased to partner with Showcase to build on the same and help us access new users”, said Paras Sharma, Head of News Partnerships, HT Digital Streams Ltd, one of the largest print publishers in India.

"This is a wonderful product from Google that signals a positive shift in the thought process benefitting both publishers and readers. This interesting new partnership with Google will give an opportunity to the publishers to showcase the best of their content in a specially designed window apart from getting it discovered through traditional search engine approach. Publishers get an opportunity to find new audiences for their premium content and users get an enhanced news experience", said Vikas Handu, Vice-President Digital Strategy, India TV, a leading news broadcaster in India.

They also announced that they will be expanding Google News Initiative efforts in India. As part of it, they propose to train 50,000 journalists and journalism students over the next three years, focussing on digital tools to aid verification and combat misinformation online. They also propose to introduce some new programs to help small and mid-sized publications achieve financial sustainability. These programs include new business training workshops to help news organisations address the needs of their audiences, grow their readership and deepen reader engagement, and The GNI Advertising Lab to help small and mid-sized news organisations grow their digital ad revenue.

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