San Francisco, United States:
Google is in discussions about offers to pay media organizations for content, a move aimed at suppressing criticism that, according to the people familiar with the talks, it is wrongly benefiting from copyrighted messages.
Negotiations between the internet giant and news agencies are said to have been at an early stage, with most publishers located in France and other parts of Europe.
Paying for messages would deviate from the practice of the Internet Titan, owned by Alphabet, to mine the Internet freely for the material that appears in the search results.
A licensing agreement is likely to be welcomed by news organizations who claim that Google can generate profits from ads in addition to its news articles, including "snippets" in search results.
Google was contacted by AFP Friday and said it was looking for new ways to help publishers.
"We want to help people find high quality journalism. It is important to inform democracy and support a sustainable news industry," said Richard Gingras, vice president of news for Google, in a statement.
"This is very important to us and we are talking to partners and are looking for other ways to expand our ongoing work with publishers and build on programs like our Google News initiative."
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Friday that Google was considering offers for a "premium" news product.
The California technology giant has held steadfastly for not paying for news article links that appear in search results and is not changing this position, AFP said.
It has been argued that it increases traffic on news websites, thereby helping these publishers to generate advertising revenue.
The Google News Initiative works with publishers to promote readership and pay subscriptions to their offerings.
Facebook, which received similar criticism, launched a special "news tab" with professionally produced content last year – a step by the social network to promote journalism and lose its reputation as a platform for misinformation.
Facebook should pay some of the news organizations, reportedly in some cases millions of dollars.
Google's move is under pressure to comply with a European copyright law for content in search results.
Google said last year that European media would not pay for using their articles, images and videos in their research in France, the first country to ratify the Copyright Directive, increasing the prospect of legal action against the Internet titan ,
The technology giant said it would only display content in its search engine results and Google News from media groups that had given their permission to use it for free.