Angela Lang/CNET

Google is starting a licensing program to pay publishers for some content. The search giant on Thursday said it’ll pay publishers for “high-quality content” for a new news feature that’ll launch later this year. 

“A vibrant news industry matters—perhaps now more than ever, as people look for information they can count on in the midst of a global pandemic and growing concerns about racial injustice around the world”, said Brad Bender, Google’s VP product management, in a release on Thursday.

The search giant said the licensing program will also pay for free access to some paywalled articles on a publisher’s site. By letting readers see these articles, publishers have the opportunity to grow their audience, Google said. 

The licensing program will launch on Google News and Discover with publishers from Germany, Australia and Brazil and expand to more countries soon, Google said. 

Google has partnered with publishers in the past to make it easier for readers to find news content. In 2019, the search giant teamed up with publishers to bring personalized audio news feed to Google Assistant. Google also formed its News Initiative in 2018 with a $300 million commitment to help news publishers. 

Publishers have bristled at platforms like Google and Facebook for years, complaining that tech giants have distributed their content but undermined their advertising business model. A study from The News Media Alliance found that Google generated $4.7 billion in revenue from content by news publishers in 2018. 

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