Where would Google be without people scouring the neighborhood and the world for news and information, writing and editing and packaging that information at great expense, so Google could then share it for free and score billions in ad revenue? But just because Google gutted journalism as a business doesn’t mean it wants to kill the golden goose. It wants the old bird to evolve.
Google says “it’s crucial to encourage innovation at the grassroots level.” So the multi-billion dollar goliath is donating $5 million to help nonprofits develop “new approaches to journalism in the digital age” – $2 million to the Knight Foundation, and $3 million will go to unspecified journalism projects outside of the U.S. All Things Digital called it Google’s $5 million “Get Well Soon” card to media, noting that Google had net profits last quarter of $2.17 billion.
Google closed out its blog post announcing the grants with a few words from that old innovation standby, Thomas Edison: “Stop experimenting and you go backward.” Look for publishers to experiment with Google Maps and YouTube Direct to make news websites more engaging for readers.