In the midst of a battle over alleged anti-competitive practices in search with EU officials Google is seeking to bolster its image with the launch of a £107m fund to support publishers and online journalism across the continent over the next three years.
The cash will be used to enhance the sector’s ability to make money their online coverage and is being supported by the likes of Die Zeit, El Pais, The Financial Times and the Guardian – each of whom has signed up as a ‘founding partner’.
Notable by their absence from this list are the likes of The Times and Die Welt as their publishers, News Corp and Axel Springer, have been highly critical of Google in the past.
Carlo D'Asaro Biondo, president of strategic relationships for Google in Europe, said: "Through the Digital News Initiative, Google will work hand in hand with news publishers and journalism organisations to help develop more sustainable models for news.
"This is just the beginning, and we invite others to join us.”
The sweetener has exposed those organisations accepting handouts to the risk of a conflict of interest in the coverage of Google’s tussle with the EU, prompting suggestions that such titles may need to go out of their way to assure readers that this is not the case.