Google has agreed to pay $82 million to support “digital publishing initiatives” at French newspapers and other publishers under an agreement announced Friday.
The investment is part of a deal between the company and the French government that ends a dispute over whether the search engine should pay for “snippets” of articles that show up in Google searches. The two sides signed the pact after months of negotiation.
The French government called it a “happy conclusion” that would “facilitate the transition of the press to the digital world.”
Under the agreement, Google will create the new fund and work with French publishers to help increase their online revenues, “using our advertising technology,” Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said in a company blog post.
“A healthy news industry is important for Google and our partners, and it is essential to a free society,” Schmidt wrote.
Google declined to provide details about how advertising revenue would be divided under the deal. The company told The Times that the agreement means it won’t have to pay for “snippets” from French outlets. France is one of several European countries that had floated the idea of charging Google when it used the bits of text.
The company had warned that if France imposed the charge, Google could drop French news from its search results. Germany is weighing similar legislation; the idea has also cropped up in Italy.
Google has likened the idea to making taxi drivers pay restaurants for bringing them customers, but some publishers argue that readers are scanning Google News instead of going to their websites at all.
Many Brazilian newspapers opted out of search results last year, saying Google News wasn’t helping them gain new online readers.