Facing the threat of having to pay publishers to feature their content on its services in Australia, Google or rather its parent company, Alphabet, has announced that it will be paying publishers for its content.

This is not just in Australia though, as Alphabet chief executive officer Sundar Pichai announced that an investment of $1 billion would be made available as part of partnerships with news publishers around the world.

“This financial commitment—our biggest to date—will pay publishers to create and curate high-quality content for a different kind of online news experience. Google News Showcase is a new product that will benefit both publishers and readers: It features the editorial curation of award-winning newsrooms to give readers more insight on the stories that matter, and in the process, helps publishers develop deeper relationships with their audiences,” wrote Pichai.

News Showcase will give publishers greater control over how their stories are present within Google’s panels. Initially these panels will only contain text and images but video and audio will be coming further down the line.

“This approach is distinct from our other news products because it leans on the editorial choices individual publishers make about which stories to show readers and how to present them,” the Alphabet CEO said.

News Showcase launches in Brazil and Germany today, with expansion to other countries already on the cards.

Alphabet says it has signed News Showcase partnerships with over 200 publications in Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, the UK and Australia. There are also plans to expand to India, Belgium and the Netherlands.

South Africa has not been mentioned as of time of writing.

Some of the publications that have signed up include Der Spiegel, Stern, Die Zeit, Folha de S.Paulo and Band.

“The business model for newspapers—based on ads and subscription revenue—has been evolving for more than a century as audiences have turned to other sources for news, including radio, television and later, the proliferation of cable television and satellite radio. The internet has been the latest shift, and it certainly won’t be the last. Alongside other companies, governments and civic societies, we want to play our part by helping journalism in the 21st century not just survive, but thrive,” said Pichai.

Whether this initiative will prove enough to placate Australian lawmakers remains to be seen however what we’re curious to see is how this affects the news landscape.

Support for big publications is great but we hope that Google is also cognisant of smaller publications and not just the bigger newsrooms.

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.