Google is in preliminary talks with select publishers about paying those publishers for their content that the search giant spotlights in its news products, reports The Wall Street Journal.
So far, details on the talks are sparse, including what Google is willing to pay publishers for content. However, the WSJ says right now Google seems to be focusing on talks with European publishers, including at least one in France. It’s unknown if Google has had similar talks with U.S. publishers.
All that the WSJ knows for sure is that “the talks are focused on licensing content to appear in a free Google product,” according to a source its reporter spoke with. That free product is presumably Google’s existing News service, but it’s possible Google could be working on content deals for a different service. In a statement to The Wall Street Journal, Google said:
We want to help people find quality journalism—it’s important to informed democracy and helps support a sustainable news industry. We care deeply about this and are talking with partners and looking at more ways to expand our ongoing work with publishers, building on programmes like our Google News Initiative.
Publishers have long had a love-hate relationship with Google News. If News’s algorithms select a publisher’s article to appear in its feeds, publishers usually experience a surge of traffic to their website, which helps with exposure and on-site ad revenues. However, Google itself doesn’t pay publishers a licensing fee for content that appears on its News service.
We’ve reached out to Google for comment and will update this article if we hear back.