In the transition of news from traditional media to online, one of the biggest issues at hand is the spread of misinformation and false news. Tech giants including Facebook and Google have been consistently trying to tame the surge in the spread of incorrect news, with the use of human moderators and machine learning. However, continuous efforts are the only way to uproot the problem.
In its latest efforts to help build a better community of online news, Google has announced the launch of its Google News Initiative (GNI). As part of the initiative, Google has committed $300 million over the next three years in order to build a stronger and also accurate online news ecosystem.
The initiative will see Google collaborate with the news industry, across products, partnerships and programs to address the current industry challenges. In the past, Google has collaborated on projects including the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Digital News Initiative (DNI).
As part of the new initiative, the focus will be on three objectives – Elevate and strengthen quality journalism, Evolve business models to drive sustainable growth, and Empower news organizations through technological innovation.
Google already has its systems in place which help combat misinformation during breaking news situations. The systems have been trained to identify events of misinformation showing up in such events and instead highlight relevant and accurate content from verified news sources in the ‘Top News’ shelf. As an extension to these efforts, Google is launching the Disinfo Lab and First Draft to combat mis- and disinformation during elections and breaking news moments. Additionally, the company is also teaming up with the Poynter Institute, Stanford University, and the Local Media Association to launch MediaWise, a US project designed to improve digital information literacy for young consumers.
In order to help news publishers evolve their business model, Google is also launching Subscribe with Google. The tool will essentially allow readers to subscribe to their favorite news outlets easily. The idea is to ease up the subscription process to get more readers as quickly as possible.
The company is currently in the early testing stage of the Propensity to Subscribe signal based on machine learning models in DoubleClick to make it easier for publishers to identify potential subscribers and present them with the option to subscribe at the right time. To assist in this, the News Consumer Insights tool will help companies to understand and segment the audience.
With the GNI, Google’s Outline tool also debuts today. The open-source tool from Jigsaw allows news organizations provide journalists more secure access to the internet. Outline makes it easy for news organizations to set up their own VPN on a private server.