Google just a few years ago regularly exchanged barbs with the major publishers of news. However, the search engine giant on Monday has rewired its big engine to help appease those same publishers.
This is the most significant step by Google to appease the news groups that provide information for the search engine but have been losing ad revenue. Facebook, the biggest driver of new traffic online has taken similar steps.
The change by Google that has the biggest ramification is its decision to eliminate the program of “first click free.”
That program listed articles higher in the results of searchers if the publishers agreed to offer stories that were for free.
Google has now pledged to index all new outlets that have subscriptions in its search, allow publishers to determine the number of articles that are free they will provide through its search engine, and will not lower them in the search results if they have little to no free content.
News of this received praise amongst unusual places such as News Corp, one of the frequent critics of Google. Robert Thomson the CEO at News Corp. said it fundamentally changes the ecosystem of content by supporting coherent subscription models.
In 2015, News Corp and Google clashed over complaints by the publisher to European antitrust regulators. Google has a difficult courtship publicly with other online publishers as well. The chairman of Axel Springer the publishing giant in Germany wrote in an open letter in 2014 that the company was afraid of Google.
Google however has not agreed to new terms for revenue-sharing with online publishers, but a spokesperson for the search giant said it would be a generous model.
Google will be offering publishers payment tools for online, methods of targeting readers and features that are customized inside the Google News section for its existing subscribers.
These overtures by Google are part of its broader effort to support the creators of content on the Web. The company generates the majority of profit through making information online searchable and selling ads with its results.
Recent discussions with publishers have focused on loading the websites quicker and improving the video, then move to the subscriptions, said CBO of Google Philipp Schindler.
Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai has made subscriptions a priority and said he was involved very closely in many of the discussions with publishers.