Google is launching News Showcase in Australia, in an effort to preempt a new law that would force the company to pay for news.
Google has been at odds with the Australian government over new regulations that would require the company to pay for the news it quotes or links to in search results. Google is notoriously opposed to paying for news, claiming that publishers benefit far more than it does when it links to their content.
The dispute has reached the point where Google has threatened to leave the Australian market if the law is enacted. Meanwhile, Microsoft has moved to assure the Australian government that it can not only meet the increased demand caused by a Google exit but also supports the legislation.
In its latest move, Google is rolling out its paid news platform, News Showcase, within the country in an effort to preempt the Australian government and show the proposed law is unnecessary.
According to Reuters, News Showcase was previously only available in Germany and Brazil. While it was supposed to roll out in Australia last June, Google postponed it once the government made it apparent it was going to force the company to pay for news.
The fact that Google is rolling it out now, with seven domestic news publishers on board, seems to be aimed at providing an alternative, more palatable option to the government’s proposal.
“This provides an alternative to the model put forward by the Australian government,” said Derek Wilding, a professor at the University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for Media Transition.
“What remains to be seen is if larger publishers sign on to the product,” added Wilding.