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Google unveils Startups Lab for small news organisations in India

Google unveils Startups Lab for small news organisations in India
Photo Credit: Reuters
9 Sep, 2021

Mountain View, California based internet search giant Google on Thursday rolled out a new Startups Lab programme, which is a part of its Google News Initiative (GNI). 

The four-month programme will see the company work with independent local or single-subject journalism organisations to “find a pathway to financial and operational sustainability” through coaching, skills training and “other support”.  

The GNI Startups Lab programme has been created in partnership with DIGIPUB News India Foundation, which was founded by companies like fact-checker Alt News, Article 14, Cobrapost, Newslaundry and more. Global innovation lab Echos is also a partner on the new program. 

The technology giant will select 10 independent digital news publishers and applications for the programme are open till October 18, 2021.  

GNI is a $300 million program that Google began in 2018, as part of its efforts to work with news organisations. The company has often been accused of spreading fake news online and has been at odds with news publishers, who have accused both Google and Facebook of being predatory towards publishers. 

The tech giant had also introduced the Google News Showcase program, which is a billion-dollar programme introduced in October last year. Under this, Google partners with various publishers and licenses content from them. The program has been widely seen as a reaction to Australia’s recent regulations which requires companies like Google and Facebook to pay publishers for distributing their content. 

Google News Showcase was introduced in India in July this year, and google has partnered with 30 news organizations in the country for the program. At the time, Sanjay Gupta, Country Manager at Google, had said that the GNI program is also being expanded in the country and Google would support “over 800 small and mid-sized publications” to reach financial sustainability.