Credits: Wikimedia Commons

After being at the epicenter of controversy in Australia, Google has made significant progress in the news subscription business, announcing a host of investments to support the news industry and help people find quality journalism, contribute to the sustainability of news organizations, and expand programs under the Google News Initiative (GNI).

On Tuesday, the tech giant announced the extension of the Google News Showcase product in India with 30 publishers, including national, regional, and local news organizations, which will admittedly help “participating publishers share their expertise and editorial voice” while letting readers “dive deeper into more complex stories.”

Google News Showcase incentivizes and supports news publishers to curate high-quality content on Google News and Discover platforms, connecting readers with the news they need. Starting today, it will be rolling out in India, offering news content in both English and Hindi, which will begin to appear in dedicated News Showcase panels in Google News and on Discover. Google has plans to add support for more Indian languages in the future, the company said in a statement.

Several of the publishers are prominent names – India TV, The Hindu Group, HT Digital Streams Ltd, Indian Express Group, ABP LIVE, NDTV, Zee News, The Hans India, Amar Ujala, Deccan Herald, Punjab Kesari, The Telegraph India, IANS and ANI. Surprisingly, The Times of India, the most popular English newspaper in India, did not feature in this list.

According to Brad Bender, VP, Product Management, News, Google, the Google News Showcase was a new online experience and licensing program for publishers which also provided a customizable space for news content in Google News and Discover.

Bender said in a video call on Tuesday that News Showcase’s “panel templates are designed to help you show deep editorial context and storytelling, and also ensure that your publishing branding is front and center, making it easier for new publishers to be able to recognize you”.

News Showcase made its debut last year. Today it has over 700 publishers in over a dozen countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, the UK, Italy, Japan, and Argentina. According to Google, it has plans to include publishers in several other countries as well. News Showcase is in a deep partnership and has collaborated with publishers, who were paid by Google to offer access to readers to a limited amount of paywalled content. This feature has been made to give readers the opportunity to read more of a publisher’s articles than they would otherwise be able to, while simultaneously deepening the relationships of the readers with the publishers and encouraging them to subscribe. This would benefit Google, which would be expanding its subscriber base in the world’s second-largest internet market.

“News Showcase is just one part of our overall commitment to the large and diverse Indian news ecosystem. Today, we’re also announcing the expansion of our Google News Initiative efforts to bolster journalist training efforts, and new programs to support over 800 small and mid-sized publications achieve financial sustainability with training in audience development and product innovation to support business success for news organizations,” said Sanjay Gupta, Vice President, Google India.