According to a local media company hired to provide articles for the company, Google is reviving plans to launch its own news website in Australia within weeks as the search giant battles the world‘s first legislative proposals for content payments.
The launch of the News Showcase product as early as next month is Google’s latest tactic in a high profile campaign against proposed legislation by the Australian government to pay local news providers for content that appears on its search engine.
Misha Ketchell, editor of scientist-written news site The Conversation, said Wednesday that he had been approached by Google “to resume discussions about the launch of the News Showcase product as soon as possible, possibly in February. We’re working with it them about “.
Google announced plans to launch News Showcase in Australia last June and to sign contracts with seven small local outlets, including The Conversation, for content. It then delayed the launch, citing regulatory conditions when the Australian competition regulator released a draft of the proposed code of media negotiation.
The decision to move ahead with the launch was obvious evidence of Google’s willingness to close its own content deals and undermined the need for state laws.
A Google spokesman for Alphabet Inc in Australia declined to comment on Wednesday. Two other local publishers confirmed that they had content details for the news site without discussing recent conversations.
Mel Silva, chief executive of Google Australia, said at a parliamentary hearing last week that the company will pull its flagship search tool out of Australia when the first of its kind laws in the world go into effect.
In a post on his local website, Silva says Google refuses to pay to display links to articles, not to post news.
“At the moment, no website or search engine pays off to connect people to other websites via links,” said Silva in the undated post. “This law would change that and make Google pay to provide links for the first time in our history.”
According to the planned laws, Google and the social media giant Facebook Inc have to negotiate binding commercial contracts with Australian branches whose content will direct traffic to their platforms. If they can’t reach an agreement, the government appoints an arbitrator to do it for them.
Google has argued that the legislation, which is currently the subject of parliamentary scrutiny but is expected to be incorporated into the law soon, is impracticable.
“If Google can demonstrate that it can reach an agreement with some publishers, the aim is to show that commercial agreements can be made if no legislative action is taken,” said Derek Wilding, professor for media transition at Sydney University of Technology, Sydney .
“The question is whether these agreements will work for all publishers. The type of agreements that Google can propose will suit some publishers, but not others.”
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)