Google Tipped To Launch News Site In Australia Amid ACCC Battle

Google is reportedly reviving plans to launch its own news website in Australia very soon.

The search engine giant – who is currently locked in a battle with the government and ACCC over planned legislation regarding paid news – is tipped to release News Showcase in Australia.

Google’s news site would run with the help of local outlets which would provide content, including The Conversation.

Two other local publishers confirmed to The New York Post it was having talks with Google about providing content.

Google originally planned to launch the website in June 2020, however it was delayed due to regulatory conditions.

Google’s decision to forge ahead with News Showcase is a response to Australia’s government legislation, the News Media Bargaining Code, which would force it to pay local news providers for content which showed up in searches.

The tech giant has vehemently opposed the draft News Media Bargaining Code, describing it as “unworkable” in its current form.

“By designating Search together with an overly broad and vague definition of news, the Code effectively forces Google to pay to show links in an unprecedented intervention that would fundamentally break how search engines work,” Google shared in a blogpost.

“Right now, no website or search engine pays to connect people to other sites through links,” Australian Google boss Mel Silva said in another post.

“This law would change that, making Google pay to provide links for the first time in our history.”

The ACCC today released a report criticising the lack of competition and transparency in digital advertising technology, citing Google as the main player in this arena.

“While there are many ad tech providers in Australia, Google is by far the largest provider of all of the key ad tech services examined by the report, and is the only provider across the full ad tech supply chain that also sells ad inventory,” the report reads.

“The ACCC estimates that Google’s share of the revenue or ads traded in each of the required services in Australia ranges from 50-60 per cent to between 90-100 per cent, depending on the service.”

The consumer watchdog says Google’s acquisitons over the last few years have built the search engine giant into a formidable force which has a negative impact on competition, particularly in Australia.

“Over time, Google has made a series of acquisitions that have cemented its strong position in the ad tech supply chain, which is further reinforced by its unrivalled access to data from its wide range of consumer-facing services, including Google Search, Chrome and Android, and from its wide network of trackers on third-party websites and apps,” the statement reads.