Google is reportedly paying publishers thousands of dollars to use its AI to write stories

Google is quietly making deals with some publishers to use its new generative AI tools to publish stories. in Adweek. The deals, worth tens of thousands of dollars a year, are apparently part of a six-year program called the Google News Initiative (GNI). , , and other resources for newsrooms. But a move to generative AI publishing tools would be a new and likely controversial move for the company.

according to Adweek, the program currently targets “a handful” of small publishers. “Beta tools enable resource-poor publishers to more efficiently aggregate content by indexing recently published reports generated by other organizations, such as government agencies and neighborhood news outlets, and then summarizing them and publishing them as new articles,” Adweek reports.

However, it is not clear how much publishers are paid under the arrangement Adweek says it’s a “five-figure sum” a year. In return, media outlets reportedly agreed to publish at least three articles a day, a weekly newsletter and a month-long marketing campaign using the tools.

Note that publishers in the program are not required to disclose their use of AI or notify aggregated websites that their content is being used to generate AI-written stories on other sites. The AI-generated copy reportedly uses a color-coded system to indicate the validity of each piece of text to help human editors review content before publishing.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. in his statement to Adweek the company said it was “in the early stages of exploring ideas to provide AI-powered tools to help journalists in their work.” The spokesperson added that AI tools “are not intended to, and cannot, replace journalists’ primary role in reporting, creating and fact-checking their stories.”

It’s unclear what Google gets out of the arrangement, though it wouldn’t be the first tech company to pay newsrooms to use proprietary tools. The arrangement bears some similarities to deals Facebook struck with publishers to create live video content in 2016. The social media company made headlines for paying publishersjuicing the nascent video platform, and dozens of media outlets chose to “go video” as a result.

Those deals later evaporated after Facebook discovered it increased the number of views of such content. The social network its live video is coming soon, and it has since changed its algorithm to recommend less news content. The “transformation of the media industry to video” has cost hundreds of journalists their jobs. estimates.

While the GNI program may seem a lot smaller than what Facebook tried with live video nearly a decade ago, it’s likely to spark new research into the use of generative AI tools by publishers. publications such as and It has been widely criticized for attempting to pass AI-written articles written by human workers.

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