Google Bids $300M for Paywall Support, Combat Fake News

John Lister's picture

Google says it is investing $300 million to help improve the quality and reliability of online news. It argues that such work is in its own business interests.

The biggest change with the 'Google News Initiative' is a couple of steps to improve the online experience for people who subscribe to news sites that are behind a paywall. One is that subscribers, once signed up to a news site, will be automatically logged on to it whenever they are signed in to their Google account, saving the need to re-enter passwords.

Another change is that people who use this facility will now see a special section in search results which highlights any results from news pay sites to which they subscribe. This section will be separate from the main search results, which continue to be ranked based on perceived relevance.

Google To Help Push Subscriptions

There's also a behind the scenes change that should benefit the subscription sites.

Google is testing a program that will analyze a user's online activity and try to figure out how likely they are to subscribe to a particular site at a particular time. This information will be shared with publishers, the idea being they can use ads or special offers to try to get the most likely candidates to sign up to a subscription.

Google is also tweaking a system that lets users read a certain number of articles on a subscription website each week or month if they follow a link direct from Google. Sites will now get more control over this number.

Fake News Countered In Real Time

Other changes are designed to reduce the prominence of false or misleading news. These changes include: putting more emphasis on established sites that have been proven to be authoritative; educating younger users on how to assess news sources; and starting a 'Disinfo Lab' (disinformation lab) to quickly react to bogus information during election campaigns or when major news breaks.

Google says it's also going to share more of its technologies with news providers. This includes tools for newspapers to better organize and archive their libraries of articles online and tools to help journalists access the Internet securely.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you like the sound of these changes? Do you subscribe to any paid online news sources? What other changes could help improve online news?

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (3 votes)


beach.boui's picture

This move by Google will allow them to gather more information and further profile every unsuspecting person who uses the internet and can be tagged by a Google cookie. Only, now, they're really getting into your head. They will know what news stories interest you, where you go and what you do after reading a news story, and so on. They will literally be able to precisely predict you behavior in ways you can't even imagine at this point. But, it will happen, unless they are stopped and regulated through legislative action.

If you think the Facebook data crisis was a big deal, just wait until Google completes their paywall plans. Google will stop at nothing to gather your personal data and use it to their benefit, and to their dominant and growing sphere of influence.

Chief's picture

I know what I would hold as truth but how do I know that you are not purposely filtering out that which you do not like (truth objected to, "fake news")?

Look at lawsuits going on right now against Google for censoring video that is factual history but does not meet their agenda!

Good idea but will not work unless I'm in charge.

Watcher007's picture

My how things have changed in such a very short time. Of course it's doubtful Google old motto, "Don't Be Evil" was ever really their intent but they sure got good real quick at collecting data and using it for purposes that conflict with my views.

I'll bet they are cringing about the timing of this acquisition so soon after the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica news story.

Interesting how when the Obama election campaign did the same thing they were lauded as tech geniuses, but when the Trump campain does the same it is suddenly illegal and a scandal.

gmthomas44_4203's picture

Of course, Mr. Google is the ONLY ONE that can sort out reliability and truthfulness amongst the Hoi-Poloi news and sites. All hail Mr Google!!