Home / Industry / Media /  Google introduces Startups Lab program for small news organizations in India

Tech giant Google on Thursday introduced a Startups Lab program, which is part of the company’s Google News Initiative (GNI). Startups Lab is a four-month program in which the company will work with independent local or single-subject media organizations to “find a pathway to financial and operational sustainability" through coaching, skills training and other support.

The GNI Startups Lab program has been created in partnership with DIGIPUB News India Foundation, which was founded by companies like fact-checker Alt News, Article 14, Cobrapost, Newslaundry and more. Global innovation lab Echos is also a partner on the new program.

The technology giant will select 10 independent digital news publishers, and applications for the program are open till 18 October, 2021.

GNI is a $300 million program that Google began in 2018, as part of its efforts to work with news organizations. The company has often been accused of spreading fake news online and has been at odds with news publishers, who have accused both Google and Facebook of being predatory towards publishers.

The tech giant had also introduced the Google News Showcase program, which is a billion-dollar program introduced in October last year. Under this, Google partners with various publishers and licenses content from them. The program has been widely seen as a reaction to Australia’s recent regulations which requires companies like Google and Facebook to pay publishers for distributing their content.

Google News Showcase was introduced in India in July this year. The company has partnered with 30 news organizations in the country for the program. At the time, Sanjay Gupta, country manager at Google, had said that the GNI program is also being expanded in the country and the firm would support “over 800 small and mid-sized publications" to reach financial sustainability.

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