Google launched its showcase news platform in India on May 18, with 30 Indian news publishers. This comes at a time when the government is attempting to clear misconceptions surrounding a vicious second COVID-19 wave.
In the face of serious medical shortage, Indians have become more reliant on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for crisis information and help.
Currently, 30 Indian publications including national, regional, and local news organisations, have joined Google LLC for its new showcase feature. Google is reportedly in conversation with a number of additional organisations in order to extend the initiative. Collaborating publishers will be paid for online content and enable them to curate it, while users will have restricted access to paywalled pieces. No further fiscal details were revealed.
”Today’s announcement comes at a particularly challenging moment in India, with Indians seeking out authoritative news and information as the COVID-19 crisis deepens,” conveyed Google via a blog.
The company has also indicated that it is working to improve the digital skills of news organisations and journalism institutions in the country. Google is increasing its efforts in India through the Google News Initiative (GNI). It intends to teach 50,000 journalists and journalism students with the assistance of “News Labs”.
With the overall COVID-19 cases crossing 25 million this week, the world’s second-most populated country is experiencing one of the worst epidemics. The Indian government has had repeated clashes with social media platform giants during this time. Last month, it requested that Twitter remove dozens of posts critical of its handling of the pandemic.
Over 700 news publishers from over a dozen countries including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom, have already inked arrangements with Google for its news showcase feature.
Google said that content from Indian publisher partners in English and Hindi will begin to appear in news showcase panels in Google News and on Discover, and that it will offer additional Indian languages this year.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai has pledged $18 million in new investments for India, including advertising assistance for public health projects.