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Google Is Paying Publishers Five-Figure Sums to Test an Unreleased Gen AI Platform

Google Is Paying Publishers Five-Figure Sums to Test an Unreleased Gen AI Platform


Google launched a private program for a handful of independent publishers last month, providing the news organizations with beta access to an unreleased generative artificial intelligence platform in exchange for receiving analytics and feedback, according to documents seen by ADWEEK.

As part of the agreement, the publishers are expected to use the suite of tools to produce a fixed volume of content for 12 months. In return, the news outlets receive a monthly stipend amounting to a five-figure sum annually, as well as the means to produce content relevant to their readership at no cost.

“In partnership with news publishers, especially smaller publishers, we’re in the early stages of exploring ideas to potentially provide AI-enabled tools to help journalists with their work,”

“This speculation about this tool being used to re-publish other outlets’ work is inaccurate,” a Google representative said in a statement. “The experimental tool is being responsibly designed to help small, local publishers produce high quality journalism using factual content from public data sources—like a local government’s public information office or health authority. These tools are not intended to, and cannot, replace the essential role journalists have in reporting, creating and fact-checking their articles.” 

The beta tools let under-resourced publishers create aggregated content more efficiently by indexing recently published reports generated by other organizations, like government agencies and neighboring news outlets, and then summarizing and publishing them as a new article. 

Other gen AI experiments Google has released over the past two years include the codenamed Genesis, which can reportedly produce whole news articles and was privately demonstrated to several publishers last summer, according to The New York Times. Others, including Search Generative Experience and Gemini, are available for public use and threaten to upend many of the commercial foundations of digital publishing.

The program is part of the Google News Initiative, which launched in 2018 to provide publishers with technology and training. 

Although many of its programs indisputably benefit the publishers involved, the broader reception of GNI has been mixed. 

Google has used GNI to drum up positive press and industry goodwill during moments of reputational duress, and many of the commercial problems it aims to solve for publishers were created by Google in the first place, said Digital Content Next CEO Jason Kint.