In a move clearly intended to improve Google's relationship with Europe, the Mountain View, California, tech giant on Monday announced a three-year partnership with eight of the Continent's top publications that will result in the company's providing 150 million euros -- or roughly $163 million -- toward innovation projects intended to benefit the news industry. The move comes just weeks after the company was formally accused of breaking antitrust rules by the European Union.
Besides pumping 150 million euros into the effort, Google's Digital News Initiative, as the partnership is called, will also provide new training and development resources for European journalists and newsrooms, grants toward academic research into computational journalism and funds for the Reuters Institute Digital News Report, which provides insight into news consumption in European countries. Anyone working on innovative online news projects can apply for a slice of the 150 million euros provided by Google.
"The Internet offers huge opportunities for the creation and dissemination of great journalism. But there are also legitimate questions about how high quality journalism can be sustained in the digital age. Through the Digital News Initiative, Google will work hand in hand with news publishers and journalism organisations to help develop more sustainable models for news," said Carlo D'Asaro Biondo, Google's president of strategic relationships in Europe, in a statement.
As part of the Digital News Initiative, Google has partnered with England's the Guardian and the Financial Times as well as France's Les Echos, Germany's FAZ and Die Zeit, Spain's El País, Italy's La Stampa and the Netherlands's NRC Media. The European Journalism Centre, the Global Editors Network and the International News Media Association are also involved in the initiative.
The new partnership is seen as an effort by Google to improve its relationship with European publications, which have fought back against Google's domination of the digital marketing space. Spain, for example, recently passed a copyright law that forced Google to shut down Google News in that country. Most notably, though, Europe this month formally accused the company of unfairly using its dominance of the search market to promote its other services.