Google News Showcase visitors will soon be able to read select paywalled articles at no extra charge. That’s one of several announcements that the search giant made today about News Showcase, the program where it pays publishers (with $1 billion committed initially) to license their content for a new format in Google News. So far, Google News Showcase has launched in such countries as Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, France, U.K. and Australia in several cases, those are markets where it’s previously faced legal challenges and antitrust scrutiny.
As part of an update Google detailed today, the company said it will pay some publishers to offer a selection of their paid content through News Showcase. As a user, you’ll need to register with the outlet letting you read one of its stories for free. Google says it’s doing things this way to help publishers build new relationships with readers.
Google is also introducing a new story panel within News Showcase that will curate a selection of articles from your favorite publishers. The stories that appear in this section will be selected by the newsrooms that wrote them. The company also plans to highlight publications it thinks you’ll want to start reading in the For You feed, as well as a new dedicated section within Newstand on Google News.
If you own an iPhone and iPad, you now have the chance to see what the News Showcase is all about, with Google is expanding the availability of the News Showcase to iOS devices where you’ll be able to access the feature through Google News. In the near term, the company plans to bring the News Showcase to the Google News website, as well as the Discover feed.
Google ends its update by noting that more publishers have signed onto the program. At launch, close to 200 publishers said they would take part in the News Showcase. Two months later, that number has doubled to nearly 400 publications, with outlets in countries like Canada, the UK and France signing on. Notably, some of the places where Google has added new partners are countries where the country has faced either legal or antitrust challenges.