Google’s How News Works, aimed at clarifying news transparency
In May, Google announced the launch of a new website aimed at explaining how they serve and address news across Google properties and platforms.
The site, How News Works, states Google’s mission as it relates to disseminating news in a non-biased manner. The site aggregates a variety of information about how Google crawls, indexes, and ranks news stories as well as how news can be personalized for the end user.
How News Works provides links to various resources within the Google news ecosystem all in one place and is part of The Google News Initiative.
What is The Google News Initiative?
The Google News Initiative (GNI) is Google’s effort to work with news industry professionals to “help journalism thrive in the digital age.” The GNI is driven and summarized by the GNI website which provides information about a variety of initiatives and approaches within Google including:
- How to work with Google (e.g., partnership opportunities, training tools, funding opportunities)
- A list of current partnerships and case studies
- A collection of programs and funding opportunities for journalists and news organizations
- A catalog of Google products relevant to journalists
Google attempts to work with the news industry in a variety of ways. For example, it provides funding opportunities to help journalists from around the world.
Google is now accepting applications (through mid-July) from North American and Latin American applicants to help fund projects that “drive digital innovation and develop new business models.” Applicants who meet Google’s specified criteria (and are selected) will be awarded up to $300,000 in funding (for U.S. applicants) or $250,000 (for Latin American applicants) with an additional award of up to 70% of the total project cost.
The GNI website also provides users with a variety of training resources and tools. Journalists can learn how to partner with Google to test and deploy new technologies such as the Washington Post’s participation in Google’s AMP Program (accelerated mobile pages).
AMP is an open source initiative that Google launched in February 2016 with the goal of making mobile web pages faster.
AMP mirrors content on traditional web pages, but uses AMP HTML, an open source format architected in an ultra-light way to reduce latency for readers.
News transparency and accountability
The GNI’s How It Works website reinforces Google’s mission to “elevate trustworthy information.” The site explains how the news algorithm works and links to Google’s news content policies.
The content policy covers Google’s approach to accountability and transparency, its requirements for paid or promotional material, copyright, restricted content, privacy/personalization and more.
This new GNI resource, a subsection of the main GNI website, acts as a starting point for journalists and news organizations to delve into Google’s vast news infrastructure including video news on YouTube.
Since it can be difficult to ascertain if news is trustworthy and accurate, this latest initiative by Google is one way that journalists (and the general public) can gain an understanding of how news is elevated and indexed on Google properties.
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