Under pressure from the European union for the monopoly they have created in the digital search space, Google is now contributing to the creation of news in Europe through their Digital News Initiative (DNI). The DNI Innovation Fund established in 2015 is an initiative to help create innovation and new thinking in news. Google has set aside €150 million, over three years, to give news organizations of all sizes the space to try new things.
The European Union has accused Google of cheating competitors by distorting Internet search results in favour of its own services and it has laid formal charges against the US technology company that has a 90% share of the search market in Europe. Critics of Google also say that they have been benefiting from free content in their search engine and that is not sustainable over the long-term for content creators, as they do not get a share of the ad revenue to pay for their content that causes financial distress with publishers.
Google, On November 17, 2016 announced a second round of funding valued at €24m for 124 projects in 25 countries. (See list here) According to the Google website, the following are examples of projects that are not eligible for funding:
- Projects that are limited to the creation or publication of content without a specific innovative component (for example, projects relating to news coverage only or projects merely translating news content into other languages);
- Upgrades of legacy publishing systems;
- Projects that relate to simply collating or listing data (for example, the publication of job listings or stock exchange data, or the re-publication of newswires articles);
- Projects on training or education only.
The media industry in Europe while appreciative of this initiative, some feel that this is a PR stunt to stop the investigation of their anti-competitive business practices and this is a small drop in the bucket versus their $60 billion in revenue Google generates annually. While this is good for European news organizations, how about providing some of that funding in Canada?