MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA: Google is to put $300m into a new initiative aimed at helping news publishers in the digital era, by elevating quality journalism and evolving business models.

In a blog post, Philipp Schindler, chief business officer at the internet giant, explained that Google’s mission of building a more informed world “is inherently tied to the reporting of journalists and news organizations”.

And he maintained that the new Google News Initiative was a “major milestone” in Google’s commitment to the news industry and would “help build a stronger future for news”.

In addition to its existing work in combating fake news, Google is copying the YouTube approach and will highlight relevant content from verified news sources in a 'Top News' shelf.

At the same time, it is teaming up with the Poynter Institute, Stanford University, and the Local Media Association to launch MediaWise, a US project designed to improve digital information literacy for young consumers.

Stressing that news and quality journalism is a top priority for Google, Schindler told Bloomberg that “The last thing you want as a search engine is to see the open internet become a race to the bottom.

“The economics here are pretty clear,” he added. “If our partners don’t grow, we don’t grow.”

As part of its efforts to help its partners financially, Google is launching a new subscription model: ‘Subscribe with Google’ aims to make the subscription process simpler and “get more readers consuming publishers’ journalism, as quickly as possible”.

As part of that development, Schindler reported that Google is testing a ‘Propensity to Subscribe’ signal based on machine learning models that will make it easier for publishers to recognize potential subscribers and present them the right offer at the right time.

It is also working with news organizations to develop technology to improve newsroom efficiency and enrich storytelling options, including the use of natural language processing to categorize articles and the creation of immersive VR experiences.

Sourced from Google, Bloomberg; additional content by WARC staff