The US-based tech giant has appeared to reverse course as Australia holds hearings aimed at enacting legislation that would effectively force Google to pay local sources for news it links to and features in its search engine.
Google last month threatened to pull its search engine off the continent altogether, with Canberra counter-threatening that they won't budge. But on Thursday Google made the following official announcement: "To meet growing reader and publisher needs, last year we increased our investment in news partnerships and launched Google News Showcase."
The 'Showcase' app is the result of the company negotiating to pay some Australian news producers who sign up for the program. It's an attempt to undercut legislation being proposed to require the company to pay for all such content. It's not likely to stop the new legislation, however, but Google is offering it as an 'alternative'. The move shows that the tech giant is arguably feeling the pressure and is looking to compromise.
The Google announcement continued, "Today we are happy to announce we are rolling out an initial version of the product to benefit users and publishers in Australia, with a keen focus on leading regional and independent publishers given the importance of local information and the role it plays in people's everyday lives."
"News Showcase is designed to bring value to both publishers and readers by providing a licensing program that pays publishers to curate content for story panels across Google services, and gives readers more insights into the stories that matter," it said.