With News Showcase now six months old and live in five countries, Google is detailing the initial progress of its $1 billion plan to pay publishers for a new content card format that appears in News and Discover. Meanwhile, Google News Showcase launched in Italy today.

Google says existing publishers are creating more than 7,000 panels per week, with many “aimed at helping to inform users at the start or end their day.” 

In an era of fast-paced news, News Showcase publishers are helping readers by highlighting the news they may have missed and getting them up to speed on the day’s events. 

All these cards feature a “Follow” button in the top-right corner, with readers tapping it more than 200,000 times for a “huge increase.” 

Meanwhile, the company said today that the first publishers have launched the “extended access feature.” This involves Google paying to unlock some paywalled content, with “early signs are encouraging,” in hopes of creating new subscribers.

Meanwhile, News Showcase launched in Italy today joining the UK, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, and Germany. 

In Italy, this experience is powered by a series of licensing agreements covering more than 70 national and local publications from publishers including Caltagirone Editore, Ciaopeople, CityNews, Edinet, il Fatto Quotidiano, Il Foglio, Il Giornale Online, Monrif, RCS Media Group, ilSole24Ore, TMS Edizioni, Varese web. These agreements for News Showcase take into account the rights outlined in Article 15 of the European Copyright Directive for specific online uses of press publications, which do not apply to hyperlinks and very short excerpts.

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