Google releases News Showcase in Australia after dispute over payment for links

Google introduces the news platform News Showcase in Australia on Friday. With the platform, the tech giant wants to meet the new Australian media law that requires internet companies to pay publishers for linking to news.

Using information cards, called Story Panels, a user can scroll through the news offerings of the participating publishers and click on an article. These Story Panels can contain complete articles or show a summary that can be clicked to read the full article on the publisher’s website.

Google says it pays special attention to local and independent media with the platform. In Australia, News Showcase will include content from The Canberra Times, The New Daily, The Conversation and more titles to follow.

Google has long been at odds with the Australian government over linking news articles. Google’s indexation and the display of news items in Google News search results would mean that media companies lose a lot of advertising revenue. The Australian government therefore introduced a new law at the end of 2020 that requires internet platforms to pay for linking to news articles. There are also voices in Europe to impose stricter rules on internet platforms when it comes to linking to news.

Earlier, Google and Facebook criticized the new Australian law called the ‘News Media Bargaining Code’. Google argued last week that excluding links to news items or government influence on search engine algorithms would not benefit consumers. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg threatened to ban Australian users from sharing local news articles on the platform.

News Showcase was first released in Brazil and Germany in mid-2020. Google said it now partners with more than 200 media companies, with the companies collectively receiving $1 billion over the next three years through their contributions to News Showcase. With the introduction in Australia, News Showcase is currently active in three countries. The service will be launched in other countries later this year.