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Google gives greater prominence to UK’s local news titles

Alex CoxLocal news publishers are set to get greater prominence on Google, the technology giant has revealed.

Google has announced the launch of a new tool to make it easier for users to automatically find news local to them.

The firm has invested in its local news channel on its Google News page so it shows a range of stories from the area where search engine users are browsing the internet from.

The content that will feature is to be selected by participating titles themselves, with those eligible being the 200 publications signed up to the Google News Showcase, a scheme that pays local titles for their content.

Participating publishers in the UK include Archant, DC Thomson, Iliffe Media, the Midland News Association, Newsquest, JPIMedia and Reach plc.

The move has been announced in a blog by Google News product manager Alex Cox.

Alex, pictured, wrote: “In building Google News Showcase, our product and licensing program for news publishers, we want people who use Google’s news products to feel the same way about their local paper.

“Google News Showcase gives local publishers a way to show their editorial expertise and explain important issues to readers. In doing so, we hope readers are able to more deeply connect with their communities.

“Today, we’re doing more to make it easier to find local publishers in Google News Showcase by bringing their panels into the local section of Google News.

“News Showcase publishers hand pick the content for these local panels, enabling them to highlight the most important stories of the day in their area and giving them another powerful way to deepen their relationship with readers.”

Readers can access the ‘Local’ section on Google News by tapping a button on the left hand side of the screen or navigating to the local section of the ‘For You’ feed in the Google News app.

It comes after Google also recently launched the ability for publishers to see how readers are engaging with their News Showcase content in real time.

Alex added: “This gives publishers the ability to respond quickly to what’s trending, add more context to their stories or add related panels to stories that are getting traction.

“We’ve also introduced the ability to edit the images that appear in panels directly in our publication tool, giving News Showcase editors more control and saving them time.”

The moves have been welcomed by Iliffe editorial director Ian Carter.  He said: “We are pleased to be expanding our relationship with Google, and view Showcase as a really important initiative.

“It’s important for publishers to work with platforms on initiatives that can ensure a sustainable future for independent journalism.”