In a continued effort to improve its relationship with online news outlets, Google is apparently preparing a new search feature that favors subscription-based content.

According to Bloomberg, this new feature will prioritize news results for subscriptions that users pay for. As an example, someone who pays for a subscription to The New York Times would be able to see results from that site towards the top of search results, whereas a non-paying user would see another site.

Google users who subscribe to newspapers will find articles from those publications appearing higher in their search results, part of the tech giant’s efforts to help media companies find and retain paying readers, according to people familiar with the matter.

Interestingly, Google is also allegedly working to help these publications find potential subscribers. This would be done by sharing search data that would reveal which potential viewers are most likely to buy a subscription.

For subscription-based publications, this is a home run if true, as it likely not only means more retained readers but also more subscribers in the long run.

This move also comes well after the company’s relaxation of the “first-click free” policy, as well as ongoing criticism from news outlets for Google having so much power over how traffic is sent through the web. Changes like this, however, show that Google is certainly doing its best to fix these problems.

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Ben Schoon

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