Google announced today that it will pay publishers for high-quality content. Licensed stories and articles will appear in a “new news experience launching later this year.”

This program will help participating publishers monetize their content through an enhanced storytelling experience that lets people go deeper into more complex stories, stay informed, and be exposed to a world of different issues and interests.

This is a remarkable departure for Google, and follows repeated calls for tech companies to license news content that appears on their services. Publishers, along with government regulators, have long wanted platforms like Search and Facebook to directly pay for article snippets.

Google previously argued that Search and its News aggregator help surface articles to a wider audience, thus resulting in more ad clicks for websites and subscriptions.

That said, the partnerships announced today involve more than just paying for story previews. Google is specifically licensing “high-quality content” that will have an “enhanced storytelling experience,” and appear in Google News and Discover later this year. The latter feed is found in the Google Search app, to the left of most Android homescreens, and the mobile google.com homepage.

The program will also see Google — when available — “offer to pay for free access for users to read paywalled articles on a publisher’s site.”

This will let paywalled publishers grow their audiences and open an opportunity for people to read content they might not ordinarily see.

Google has already signed deals with local and national publications in Germany, Australia, and Brazil.

We are currently engaged in discussions with many more partners and plan to sign more in the coming months.

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