Google introduces the Startups Lab Program for small news firms in India

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Big Tech Google on 9th September launched a Startups Lab program, which is a component of the company’s (GNI) Google News Initiative.

Startups Lab is a four-month program in which the company will work with free local or single-subject media organizations to “find a route to financial and operational continuity” through coaching, skills training, and other support. The program has been created in collaboration with DIGIPUB News India Foundation, which was initiated by companies like fact-checker Alt News, Article 14, Cobrapost, Newslaundry, etc.

Global innovation lab Echos is additionally a partner on the new program. Access to trustworthy information is critical for all components of a thriving democracy, Google said.

It has also combined support for four new Indian languages i.e. Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu in Google News Showcase, its online experience, and its licensing program to support news organizations and readers expanded to India in May. In May, Google had also announced the growth of Google News Showcase, its online experience, and its licensing program to support news organizations and readers, to India.

It will choose 10 independent digital news publishers, and applications for the program are open till 18 October 2021. GNI can be a $300 million program that Google began in 2018, as part of its efforts to work with news organizations.

The company has often been charged with spreading fake online news and has been arguing with news publishers, who have accused both Google and Facebook of being aggressive towards publishers. It had also introduced the Google News Showcase program, which can be a billion-dollar program introduced in October 2020. Under this, Google collaborates with various publishers and permits content from them. The program has been mainly seen as a reaction to Australia’s recent regulations which called for companies like Google and FB to pay publishers for distributing their content.

The company has partnered with 30 news organizations within the country for the program. Meanwhile, Sanjay Gupta, country manager at Google, had said that the GNI program is additionally being expanded within the country and so the firm would support “about 800 small and mid-sized publications” to achieve financial continuity.

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