Category Archives: Google News Blog

The official blog from the team at Google News

Digital News Initiative Innovation Fund: Call for third round applications

In 2016, the Digital News Initiative Innovation Fund, our €150 million commitment to supporting innovation in the European news industry, offered EUR 51m to 252 ambitious projects in digital journalism across 27 countries. Today, we’re thrilled to open the Fund for a third round of applications

From the outset, we designed the Fund to provide no-strings-attached awards to those in the news industry looking for some room (and budget) to experiment. Why are we doing this? Because at Google we know from experience that the biggest, boldest ideas often start small. Through the DNI Fund we want to give new approaches the freedom to experiment--and maybe even to soar.

We’ve been impressed by both the number and the quality of the applications we’ve received in the first two rounds of funding, and are proud to have funded hundreds including many committed to the important challenges around fact-checking and verification of content. More on past projects can be found on our NEW website, launched today at digitalnewsinitiative.com. To give time for aspiring applicants to prepare, this season’s application round will be open for the next six weeks, ending 20th April.

We’re looking for projects that demonstrate new thinking in the practice of digital journalism; that support the development of new business models, or maybe even change the way users consume digital news. Last round we issued a call for collaboration--across industry and across the region--and of course we’d love to see this trend continue. As a focus for this round, we’d also encourage applicants to explore new areas of monetisation to potentially unlock new revenue streams for the industry.

The Digital News Initiative, which began as a partnership between Google and a small handful of  European news organisations, has grown into an ecosystem of more than 180 now working together to support high quality journalism through technology and innovation, including the open-sourced Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, and the dedicated YouTube Player for Publishers, being used on news sites across Europe. The DNI  initiative is open to anyone involved in Europe’s digital news industry, large or small, established or newcomer.

DNI Family

Here’s a quick reminder of how the Fund works:

Projects

We’re looking for projects that demonstrate new thinking in the practice of digital journalism; that support the development of new business models, or maybe even change the way users consume digital news. Projects can be highly experimental, but must have well-defined goals and have a significant digital component. There is absolutely no requirement to use any Google products. Successful projects will show innovation and have a positive impact on the production of original digital journalism and on the long-term sustainability of the news business.

Eligibility

The Fund is open to established publishers, online-only players, news start-ups, collaborative partnerships and individuals based in the EU and EFTA countries.

Funding

There are three categories of funding available:

  • Prototype projects: open to organisations - and to individuals - that meet the eligibility criteria, and require up to €50k of funding. These projects should be very early stage, with ideas yet to be designed and assumptions yet to be tested. We will fast-track such projects and will fund 100% of the total cost.

  • Medium projects: open to organisations that meet the eligibility criteria and require up to €300k of funding. We will accept funding requests up to 70% of the total cost of the project.

  • Large projects: open to organisations that meet the eligibility criteria and require more than €300k of funding. We will accept funding requests up to 70% of the total cost of the project. Funding is capped at €1 million.

Exceptions to the €1 million cap are possible for large projects that are collaborative (e.g., international, sector-wide, involving multiple organisations) or that significantly benefit the broad news ecosystem.

How to apply

Visit the new Digital News Initiative website for full details, including eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, and application forms. Applications must be made in English and the submission deadline for the first round of funding is 20th April, 2017.

Governance

We’ve consulted widely to ensure that the Fund has inclusive and transparent application and selection processes. Confidentiality is critical; applicants should not share business-sensitive or highly confidential information. Full details can be found on the DNI website.

Initial selection of projects will be done by a Project team, composed of a mix of experienced industry figures and Google staff, who will review all applications for eligibility, innovation and impact. They’ll make recommendations on funding for Prototype and Medium projects to the Fund’s Council, which will have oversight of the Fund’s selection process. The Council will vote on Large projects.

Council members:

  • Joao Palmeiro, President of the Portuguese publishers association and Chair of the DNI Innovation Fund Council

  • Alexander Asseily, Founder & CEO of State, Founder of Jawbone

  • Miriam Meckel, Editor-in-Chief of WirtschaftsWoche

  • Arianna Ciccone, Co-Founder and Director of the Perugia International Journalism Festival

  • Bartosz Hojka, CEO of Agora S.A.

  • Veit Dengler, CEO, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

  • Rosalia Lloret, Head of Institutional Relations, Online Publishers’ Association Europe

  • Bruno Patino, Dean of Sciences-Po Journalism School

  • Murdoch MacLennan, CEO of the Telegraph Media Group

  • Bart Brouwers, Professor in Journalism at Groningen University

  • Madhav Chinnappa, Director of Strategic Relations, News and Publishers, Google

  • Torsten Schuppe, Director of Marketing EMEA, Google

  • Ronan Harris, Vice President, Google

We will announce the next funding recipients before the start of the summer holidays. We look forward to receiving your https://digitalnewsinitiative.com/dni-fund/apply-for-fundingapplications!

Digital News Initiative Innovation Fund: Call for third round applications

In 2016, the Digital News Initiative Innovation Fund, our €150 million commitment to supporting innovation in the European news industry, offered EUR 51m to 252 ambitious projects in digital journalism across 27 countries. Today, we’re thrilled to open the Fund for a third round of applications

From the outset, we designed the Fund to provide no-strings-attached awards to those in the news industry looking for some room (and budget) to experiment. Why are we doing this? Because at Google we know from experience that the biggest, boldest ideas often start small. Through the DNI Fund we want to give new approaches the freedom to experiment--and maybe even to soar.

We’ve been impressed by both the number and the quality of the applications we’ve received in the first two rounds of funding, and are proud to have funded hundreds including many committed to the important challenges around fact-checking and verification of content. More on past projects can be found on our NEW website, launched today at digitalnewsinitiative.com. To give time for aspiring applicants to prepare, this season’s application round will be open for the next six weeks, ending 20th April.

We’re looking for projects that demonstrate new thinking in the practice of digital journalism; that support the development of new business models, or maybe even change the way users consume digital news. Last round we issued a call for collaboration--across industry and across the region--and of course we’d love to see this trend continue. As a focus for this round, we’d also encourage applicants to explore new areas of monetisation to potentially unlock new revenue streams for the industry.

The Digital News Initiative, which began as a partnership between Google and a small handful of  European news organisations, has grown into an ecosystem of more than 180 now working together to support high quality journalism through technology and innovation, including the open-sourced Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, and the dedicated YouTube Player for Publishers, being used on news sites across Europe. The DNI  initiative is open to anyone involved in Europe’s digital news industry, large or small, established or newcomer.

DNI Family

Here’s a quick reminder of how the Fund works:

Projects

We’re looking for projects that demonstrate new thinking in the practice of digital journalism; that support the development of new business models, or maybe even change the way users consume digital news. Projects can be highly experimental, but must have well-defined goals and have a significant digital component. There is absolutely no requirement to use any Google products. Successful projects will show innovation and have a positive impact on the production of original digital journalism and on the long-term sustainability of the news business.

Eligibility

The Fund is open to established publishers, online-only players, news start-ups, collaborative partnerships and individuals based in the EU and EFTA countries.

Funding

There are three categories of funding available:

  • Prototype projects: open to organisations - and to individuals - that meet the eligibility criteria, and require up to €50k of funding. These projects should be very early stage, with ideas yet to be designed and assumptions yet to be tested. We will fast-track such projects and will fund 100% of the total cost.

  • Medium projects: open to organisations that meet the eligibility criteria and require up to €300k of funding. We will accept funding requests up to 70% of the total cost of the project.

  • Large projects: open to organisations that meet the eligibility criteria and require more than €300k of funding. We will accept funding requests up to 70% of the total cost of the project. Funding is capped at €1 million.

Exceptions to the €1 million cap are possible for large projects that are collaborative (e.g., international, sector-wide, involving multiple organisations) or that significantly benefit the broad news ecosystem.

How to apply

Visit the new Digital News Initiative website for full details, including eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, and application forms. Applications must be made in English and the submission deadline for the first round of funding is 20th April, 2017.

Governance

We’ve consulted widely to ensure that the Fund has inclusive and transparent application and selection processes. Confidentiality is critical; applicants should not share business-sensitive or highly confidential information. Full details can be found on the DNI website.

Initial selection of projects will be done by a Project team, composed of a mix of experienced industry figures and Google staff, who will review all applications for eligibility, innovation and impact. They’ll make recommendations on funding for Prototype and Medium projects to the Fund’s Council, which will have oversight of the Fund’s selection process. The Council will vote on Large projects.

Council members:

  • Joao Palmeiro, President of the Portuguese publishers association and Chair of the DNI Innovation Fund Council

  • Alexander Asseily, Founder & CEO of State, Founder of Jawbone

  • Miriam Meckel, Editor-in-Chief of WirtschaftsWoche

  • Arianna Ciccone, Co-Founder and Director of the Perugia International Journalism Festival

  • Bartosz Hojka, CEO of Agora S.A.

  • Veit Dengler, CEO, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

  • Rosalia Lloret, Head of Institutional Relations, Online Publishers’ Association Europe

  • Bruno Patino, Dean of Sciences-Po Journalism School

  • Murdoch MacLennan, CEO of the Telegraph Media Group

  • Bart Brouwers, Professor in Journalism at Groningen University

  • Madhav Chinnappa, Director of Strategic Relations, News and Publishers, Google

  • Torsten Schuppe, Director of Marketing EMEA, Google

  • Ronan Harris, Vice President, Google

We will announce the next recipients of these awards before the start of the summer holidays. We look forward to receiving your https://digitalnewsinitiative.com/dni-fund/apply-for-fundingapplications!

When computers learn to swear: Using machine learning for better online conversations

Imagine trying to have a conversation with your friends about the news you read this morning, but every time you said something, someone shouted in your face, called you a nasty name or accused you of some awful crime. You’d probably leave the conversation. Unfortunately, this happens all too frequently online as people try to discuss ideas on their favorite news sites but instead get bombarded with toxic comments.  

Seventy-two percent of American internet users have witnessed harassment online and nearly half have personally experienced it. Almost a third self-censor what they post online for fear of retribution. According to the same report, online harassment has affected the lives of roughly 140 million people in the U.S., and many more elsewhere.

This problem doesn’t just impact online readers. News organizations want to encourage engagement and discussion around their content, but find that sorting through millions of comments to find those that are trolling or abusive takes a lot of money, labor, and time. As a result, many sites have shut down comments altogether. But they tell us that isn’t the solution they want. We think technology can help.

Today, Google and Jigsaw are launching Perspective, an early-stage technology that uses machine learning to help identify toxic comments. Through an API, publishers—including members of the Digital News Initiative—and platforms can access this technology and use it for their sites.

How it works

Perspective reviews comments and scores them based on how similar they are to comments people said were “toxic” or likely to make someone leave a conversation. To learn how to spot potentially toxic language, Perspective examined hundreds of thousands of comments that had been labeled by human reviewers. Each time Perspective finds new examples of potentially toxic comments, or is provided with corrections from users, it can get better at scoring future comments.

Publishers can choose what they want to do with the information they get from Perspective. For example, a publisher could flag comments for its own moderators to review and decide whether to include them in a conversation. Or a publisher could provide tools to help their community understand the impact of what they are writing—by, for example, letting the commenter see the potential toxicity of their comment as they write it. Publishers could even just allow readers to sort comments by toxicity themselves, making it easier to find great discussions hidden under toxic ones.

Perspective_1.gif

We’ve been testing a version of this technology with The New York Times, where an entire team sifts through and moderates each comment before it’s posted—reviewing an average of 11,000 comments every day. That’s a lot of comments. As a result the Times has comments on only about 10 percent of its articles. We’ve worked together to train models that allows Times moderators to sort through comments more quickly, and we’ll work with them to enable comments on more articles every day.

Where we go from here

Perspective joins the TensorFlow library and the Cloud Machine Learning Platform as one of many new machine learning resources Google has made available to developers. This technology is still developing. But that’s what’s so great about machine learning—even though the models are complex, they’ll improve over time. When Perspective is in the hands of publishers, it will be exposed to more comments and develop a better understanding of what makes certain comments toxic.

While we improve the technology, we’re also working to expand it. Our first model is designed to spot toxic language, but over the next year we’re keen to partner and deliver new models that work in languages other than English as well as models that can identify other perspectives, such as when comments are unsubstantial or off-topic.

In the long run, Perspective is about more than just improving comments. We hope we can help improve conversations online.

Project Shield: Defending Maka Angola

Rafael Marques De Morais is a journalist in Angola who runs Maka Angola, the largest independent news site in the country. Operating from Rafael’s kitchen table, Maka Angola may have a small staff, but its impact in Angola is massive. Their investigative journalism, covering topics from conflict diamonds, to wartime atrocities and crippling poverty, have given the citizens of Angola a platform where their voices can now be heard.

As a result of his coverage, Rafael has been threatened, thrown in jail and been the target of constant distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks to take Maka Angola offline. Rafael has been able to partner with Jigsaw’s Project Shield, ensuring that his site stayed online and continued its work.

The world’s news is under threat from DDoS attacks -- a simple and inexpensive way for anyone with an internet connection to take down a news organization anywhere in the world. This type of cyber attack is one of the most pernicious forms of censorship in the 21st century.

Jigsaw’s Project Shield is a free service that uses Google’s technology to protect independent news sites and human rights groups from DDoS attacks. In light of the rising threat, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced earlier this year that Shield is available to journalists, news sites and human rights organizations around the world for free.

Learn more about Rafael’s story and the work of Project Shield.

Project Shield: Defending Maka Angola

Rafael Marques De Morais is a journalist in Angola who runs Maka Angola, one of the largest independent news site in the country. Operating from Rafael’s kitchen table, Maka Angola may have a small staff, but its impact in Angola is massive. Their investigative journalism, covering topics from conflict diamonds, to wartime atrocities and crippling poverty, have given the citizens of Angola a platform where their voices can now be heard.

As a result of his coverage, Rafael has been threatened, thrown in jail and been the target of constant distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks to take Maka Angola offline. Rafael has been able to partner with Jigsaw’s Project Shield, ensuring that his site stayed online and continued its work.

The world’s news is under threat from DDoS attacks -- a simple and inexpensive way for anyone with an internet connection to take down a news organization anywhere in the world. This type of cyber attack is one of the most pernicious forms of censorship in the 21st century.

Jigsaw’s Project Shield is a free service that uses Google’s technology to protect independent news sites and human rights groups from DDoS attacks. In light of the rising threat, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced earlier this year that Shield is available to journalists, news sites and human rights organizations around the world for free.

Learn more about Project Shield here.

Project Shield: Defending Maka Angola

Rafael Marques De Morais is a journalist in Angola who runs Maka Angola, one of the largest independent news site in the country. Operating from Rafael’s kitchen table, Maka Angola may have a small staff, but its impact in Angola is massive. Their investigative journalism, covering topics from conflict diamonds, to wartime atrocities and crippling poverty, have given the citizens of Angola a platform where their voices can now be heard.

As a result of his coverage, Rafael has been threatened, thrown in jail and been the target of constant distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks to take Maka Angola offline. Rafael has been able to partner with Jigsaw’s Project Shield, ensuring that his site stayed online and continued its work.

The world’s news is under threat from DDoS attacks -- a simple and inexpensive way for anyone with an internet connection to take down a news organization anywhere in the world. This type of cyber attack is one of the most pernicious forms of censorship in the 21st century.

Jigsaw’s Project Shield is a free service that uses Google’s technology to protect independent news sites and human rights groups from DDoS attacks. In light of the rising threat, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced earlier this year that Shield is available to journalists, news sites and human rights organizations around the world for free.

Learn more about Project Shield here.

Labeling fact-check articles in Google News

Over the last several years, fact checking has come into its own. Led by organizations like the International Fact-Checking Network, rigorous fact checks are now conducted by more than 100 active sites, according to the Duke University Reporter’s Lab. They collectively produce many thousands of fact-checks a year, examining claims around urban legends, politics, health, and the media itself.

In the seven years since we started labeling types of articles in Google News (e.g., In-Depth, Opinion, Wikipedia), we’ve heard that many readers enjoy having easy access to a diverse range of content types. Earlier this year, we added a “Local Source” Tag to highlight local coverage of major stories. Today, we’re adding another new tag, “Fact check,” to help readers find fact checking in large news stories. You’ll see the tagged articles in the expanded story box on news.google.com and in the Google News & Weather iOS and Android apps, starting with the U.S. and the U.K.

FactCheck_Articles.png
top stories.png

Google News determines whether an article might contain fact checks in part by looking for the schema.org ClaimReview markup. We also look for sites that follow the commonly accepted criteria for fact checks. Publishers who create fact-checks and would like to see it appear with the “Fact check” tag should use that markup in fact-check articles. For more information, head on over to our help center.

We’re excited to see the growth of the Fact Check community and to shine a light on its efforts to divine fact from fiction, wisdom from spin.

Labeling fact-check articles in Google News

Over the last several years, fact checking has come into its own. Led by organizations like the International Fact-Checking Network, rigorous fact checks are now conducted by more than 100 active sites, according to the Duke University Reporter’s Lab. They collectively produce many thousands of fact-checks a year, examining claims around urban legends, politics, health, and the media itself.

In the seven years since we started labeling types of articles in Google News (e.g., In-Depth, Opinion, Wikipedia), we’ve heard that many readers enjoy having easy access to a diverse range of content types. Earlier this year, we added a “Local Source” Tag to highlight local coverage of major stories. Today, we’re adding another new tag, “Fact check,” to help readers find fact checking in large news stories. You’ll see the tagged articles in the expanded story box on news.google.com and in the Google News & Weather iOS and Android apps, starting with the U.S. and the U.K.

FactCheck_Articles.png
top stories.png

Google News determines whether an article might contain fact checks in part by looking for the schema.org ClaimReview markup. We also look for sites that follow the commonly accepted criteria for fact checks. Publishers who create fact-checks and would like to see it appear with the “Fact check” tag should use that markup in fact-check articles. For more information, head on over to our help center.

We’re excited to see the growth of the Fact Check community and to shine a light on its efforts to divine fact from fiction, wisdom from spin.

Celebrating AMP: A year in review

A lot can happen in a year when people unite around a common cause.  In the case of the open source Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, born out of conversations with European publishers through the Digital News Initiative, that means improving the mobile web for everyone. In a world where we rely on nearly 7 billion small screens that’s a tall order--but we’re toasting the first anniversary of AMP with progress the entire initiative can feel good about.

From day one, a key focus for AMP has been speed.  Slow loading sites are arguably one of the most frustrating things about the mobile web. Recent Google research shows that 53% of people will leave a site that fails to load in three seconds or less. That’s the worst of all worlds for users, businesses, publishers, websites and the mobile web as a whole.

For publishers, who were the first to get on board with AMP, the benefits of fast-loading content are super-tangible. In this case study, the Washington Post reported a 23% increase in mobile search users who return within 7 days.

And in this case study, one of Europe’s biggest native advertising platforms, plista, conducted its own experiment among premium publishers like n-tv.de, faz.net, abendzeitung.de, and golem.de to measure AMP’s impact on web app widget speed and profitability. Average click-through rates for publishers improved by 220%, while one saw an increase of 600% after the implementation of AMP.

To date the AMP project has been a story about momentum. This is clear in everything from the pace of releases of the open source code to the number of participants embracing the AMP format. From Pinterest to Reddit to Bing and Ebay, reports of success after adopting AMP have rolled in in recent months.

At Google, we’re doing our part too. In February, we launched AMP in the “Top Stories” section of Google Search, delivering news in a fast and reliable way. In August, we previewed linking to AMPs across the entire mobile search results page. And this month we’re excited to be rolling out that faster experience to mobile users across Europe.

Now when you search on your mobile device, you’ll see a label that indicates a page is AMP’d. This doesn’t change Search results but will show you which sites have pages that are ready to load lightning fast.

AMP gif

Today AMP pages load from Google Search in less than one second on average. Beyond just saving time with fast loading pages, AMP also saves data -- AMP pages on Search use 10 times less data than the equivalent non-AMP page.

To date we have over 600 million AMP documents created by sites all over the world (232 locales and 104 languages). These pages cover news content, retail, travel, recipes, general knowledge and entertainment. That’s a lot of fast-loading pages!

The open source initiative is thriving because there is a strong community behind it getting involved in everything from working groups to contributing to the Github page with suggestions, feedback and code spec.

While the first year of the AMP Project has gotten off to a good start, there still remains a lot of work ahead.  This roadmap is a good way to stay up to date on what is happening next. We look forward to returning in a year’s time with even more awesome progress as we work together to make the web great for everyone.

To find out more about AMP, check out ampproject.org. For more product advancements from the Digital News Initiative, check out digitalnewsinitiative.com.

Celebrating AMP: A year in review

A lot can happen in a year when people unite around a common cause.  In the case of the open source Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, born out of conversations with European publishers through the Digital News Initiative, that means improving the mobile web for everyone. In a world where we rely on nearly 7 billion small screens that’s a tall order--but we’re toasting the first anniversary of AMP with progress the entire initiative can feel good about.

From day one, a key focus for AMP has been speed.  Slow loading sites are arguably one of the most frustrating things about the mobile web. Recent Google research shows that 53% of people will leave a site that fails to load in three seconds or less. That’s the worst of all worlds for users, businesses, publishers, websites and the mobile web as a whole.

For publishers, who were the first to get on board with AMP, the benefits of fast-loading content are super-tangible. In this case study, the Washington Post reported a 23% increase in mobile search users who return within 7 days.

And in this case study, one of Europe’s biggest native advertising platforms, plista, conducted its own experiment among premium publishers like n-tv.de, faz.net, abendzeitung.de, and golem.de to measure AMP’s impact on web app widget speed and profitability. Average click-through rates for publishers improved by 220%, while one saw an increase of 600% after the implementation of AMP.

To date the AMP project has been a story about momentum. This is clear in everything from the pace of releases of the open source code to the number of participants embracing the AMP format. From Pinterest to Reddit to Bing and Ebay, reports of success after adopting AMP have rolled in in recent months.

At Google, we’re doing our part too. In February, we launched AMP in the “Top Stories” section of Google Search, delivering news in a fast and reliable way. In August, we previewed linking to AMPs across the entire mobile search results page. And this month we’re excited to be rolling out that faster experience to mobile users across Europe.

Now when you search on your mobile device, you’ll see a label that indicates a page is AMP’d. This doesn’t change Search results but will show you which sites have pages that are ready to load lightning fast.

AMP gif

Today AMP pages load from Google Search in less than one second on average. Beyond just saving time with fast loading pages, AMP also saves data -- AMP pages on Search use 10 times less data than the equivalent non-AMP page.

To date we have over 600 million AMP documents created by sites all over the world (232 locales and 104 languages). These pages cover news content, retail, travel, recipes, general knowledge and entertainment. That’s a lot of fast-loading pages!

The open source initiative is thriving because there is a strong community behind it getting involved in everything from working groups to contributing to the Github page with suggestions, feedback and code spec.

While the first year of the AMP Project has gotten off to a good start, there still remains a lot of work ahead.  This roadmap is a good way to stay up to date on what is happening next. We look forward to returning in a year’s time with even more awesome progress as we work together to make the web great for everyone.

To find out more about AMP, check out ampproject.org. For more product advancements from the Digital News Initiative, check out digitalnewsinitiative.com.