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Google to pay for ‘high quality’ news

Google says it will pay some news outlets for “high-quality” stories that it uses amid pressure from publishers.

Part of the initiative will require Google to pay for its users to access news stories otherwise locked behind a so-called paywall on certain websites.

The first sites to join are in Australia, Brazil, and Germany, with a product launch set for later this year.

It comes as authorities in some countries investigate how tech firms use news content without paying for it.

Australia has put forward plans to force Google and Facebook to pay news publishers under competition rules.

France has already issued Google with an order to do so.

It is the latest development in a long-standing row with news publishers over whether tech giants should pay them to include “snippets” of news articles in search results or on social media.

Google characterises its new pitch to solve the problem as a “licensing programme”, focused on in-depth reporting rather than day-to-day news stories.

In an announcement blog post, Google said it would “pay publishers for high-quality content”.

Google will make some articles from subscription news websites available to its users for free.

“Where available, Google will also offer to pay for free access for users to read pay-walled articles on a publisher’s site,” Google said.

“This will let pay-walled publishers grow their audiences and open an opportunity for people to read content they might not ordinarily see.”

Despite the intervention of governments and criticism from some publishers, the company insisted its existing products generated “economic value for publishers”.

It argued that its search and news products send readers to news sites more than 24 billion times each month, “giving publishers the opportunity to offer ads or subscriptions and increase the audience for their content”.

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