Google on Tuesday announced a $300 million initiative aimed at helping "journalism thrive in the digital age."
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That includes Subscribe With Google, a tool that lets you use your Google account to buy a subscription on participating news sites. A number of news organizations have signed on, including The New York Times, the Financial Times, and The Washington Post (see below for the full list of launch partners).
"Our goal with Subscribe with Google is to ease the subscription process to get more readers consuming publishers' journalism, as quickly as possible," Google's Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler wrote in a blog post.
When you encounter this feature and want to subscribe to a news outlet, you'll simply select the plan you want, click "Subscribe," and that's it. You can pay with any credit card you've used with Google in the past, and you'll automatically be signed in to the site—no need to create a username and password or input your payment card details.
"From then on, you can then use 'Sign In with Google' to access the publisher's products, but Google does the billing, keeps your payment method secure, and makes it easy for you to manage your subscriptions all in one place," Subscribe with Google Project Management Director Jim Albrecht explained.
Once you subscribe to a publication, Google will start highlighting that source on Search. So, if you search for a specific news topic and a publication to which you're subscribed has a story about it, you'll see that result in a new "Your Subscriptions" module.
Here's the full list of Subscribe with Google launch partners: Les Échos, Fairfax Media, Le Figaro, the Financial Times, Gannett, Gatehouse Media, Grupo Globo, The Mainichi, McClatchy, La Nación, The New York Times, NRC Media, Le Parisien, Reforma, la Republica, The Telegraph, USA Today Network, and The Washington Post.
In October, Facebook announced it was testing a similar news subscription tool designed to help publishers make more coin off their content. That was before it started showing less content from publishers in the News Feed, though.
Meanwhile, as part of its $300 million news initiative, Google is teaming with the Harvard Kennedy School's First Draft project to launch a new "Disinfo Lab," designed "to combat mis- and disinformation during elections and breaking news moments," Schindler wrote. Google is also launching MediaWise, a "project designed to improve digital information literacy for young consumers" alongside the Poynter Institute, Stanford University, and the Local Media Association. Finally, Google today launched Outline, an open-source tool "that lets news organizations provide journalists more secure access to the internet" via a VPN.