Google’s news and current affairs offer will have a new product in Spain starting this Thursday. Showcase will allow the media to choose three articles and offer them in a special format in News and Discover, the two usual ways to find information in the search engine. The novelty is small, but it means a new type of income for the 150 media from 60 Spanish publishing groups, which have signed individual agreements with Google. Among them is Prisa Media, the publisher of EL PAIS. Google News recently returned to Spain after leaving eight years ago due to disagreements with media owners. Showcase is already in more than 18 countries and Google has agreements with more than 1,700 publications around the world.
With Showcase, Google intends to promote especially current and quality information. The company has passed these two criteria on to editorial groups, but will in principle have no way to prevent some media from using this new method to promote flashy or misleading headlines. Google has given some details of Showcase in a virtual presentation with a group of journalists, but it does not allow to directly quote the phrases of the company’s employees.
The new functionality offers panels that will show the information of each medium, and that will be one more element in the News or Discover interface. Its appearance for each user will depend on the algorithm, the interests of each one, the sources of information that they consult or their geographical location. Google has insisted that local information is key in this project. The specialized or very small media must publish at least two daily panels. Google will also allow users to follow their preferred headers.
This novelty is part of Google’s global strategy of wanting to help the survival of the media, an industry that is a basic part of the content offered by the search engine and that the platform has left very touched with its growing dominance of the digital advertising cake. According to company sources, Google’s aim is to consolidate the business models that each publisher has by sending more traffic: if the model is based on advertising, they will achieve larger audiences; if it is a subscription, they will have more options to convert new readers. Google has agreed with paywall media to pay for making some of its content open, according to company sources, although it has not offered more details.
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Source: EL PAIS