The Google News Initiative seeks to improve quality journalism by giving news outlets the tools they need to "thrive in the digital age." In an effort to provide users with news that is not only informative but also more accurate and of higher quality, Google has laid out three key objectives that will help it further this goal, which include lifting up quality journalism and making it more recognizable to the readers, helping those news outlets reach a point where they can grow and sustain that growth, and assisting news organizations with powerful, innovative new technology that will aid in putting out the best content possible.
Google's three-pronged approach starts with elevating the quality content, and one way Google is doing this is training its systems to recognize relevant content that's accurate and coming from verified news sources and highlighting that content on a layer Google is referring to as the "Top News Shelf," which as the name suggests will be a place where readers can look to get access to news that is credible and of a certain standard.
For users that are passionate about a specific publication, Google's new Subscribe with Google feature will allow readers to subscribe to their favorite publications, opening up a new revenue stream for those news outlets and helping them get onto a more sustainable path for growth moving forward. This is just now starting to roll out but was initially announced by Google last Fall. Readers will be able to subscribe right from news articles and as one might have guessed subscriptions are paid for using a Google Pay account, with options ranging from one-month trials to annual subscriptions, and pricing likely varying depending on the publication. Other tools, such as the News Consumer Insights feature which is built as a new dashboard layer on top of Google Analytics, will help publications better understand their audiences while keeping subscriptions in mind for that sustainable growth. This in particular is one tool that is likely to help quite a bit. Google already rolled this feature out to certain news outlets, and publications like the St. Louis Post-Dispatch saw page view increases of about 150-percent, which is a pretty big jump. In short, Google is keen on continuing to highlight quality journalism and aims to make it easier to find.