Google is investing $300 million over the next three years in a new suite of tools to help digital publishers fight the spread of misinformation, as well as grow subscriptions and readership.
Philipp Schindler, Google’s Chief Business Officer, told Bloomberg: “The last thing you want as a search engine is to see the open internet become a race to the bottom. The economics here are pretty clear: If our partners don’t grow, we don’t grow.”
Called the Google News Initiative, the new suite includes a feature called “Subscribe with Google,” which will allow users to sign up for news subscriptions with the billing information Google already has on file, making it easier to subscribe to publishers.
Publishers will keep 85% to 95% of the revenue when readers buy subscriptions through Google, Bloomberg reported.
The New York Times, The Washington Post, Financial Times and Gannett have signed up for the product.
Another new feature will highlight stories from publications a user already subscribes to in Google’s search results.
Google is also teaming up with Harvard’s Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on what it is calling the Disinfo Lab, to work on combating the spread of fake news.
Ironically, one of the reasons publishers have these challenges is because the Google search engine platform is one half of what is called the “duopoly,” gobbling up more than half of U.S. digital ad spending.
Facebook, the other half of the duopoly, is working on its own initiative to boost publishers’ subscriptions.