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Google to fund online journalism in Europe

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Google has promised to donate €150 million (£107 million) to European news publishers to help bolster online journalism.

The search giant is launching the Digital News Initiative in collaboration with eight European publications, including The Guardian and The Financial Times.

This group will explore new ways to increase revenue, boost traffic and promote audience engagement.

"Through the Digital News Initiative, Google will work hand in hand with news publishers and journalism organisations to help develop more sustainable models for news," said Carlo D'Asaro Biondo, Google's president of strategic relationships in Europe.

Besides its €150 million in cash, which will be donated over three years, Google will lend the initiative three dedicated staff members to work with these European publications - one in London, one in Hamburg, and one in Paris.

Of course, given Google's escalating troubles with European legislators, the timing of this initiative is raising questions. It was recently confirmed that the EU will take on Google for alleged anti-competitive practices - a process that will doubtless play out in the European media.

Read More: FTC Staff report on Google Antitrust investigation: The Highlights

Continuing on this theme, it's also been pointed out that several media groups that have been particularly critical of Google in the past have not been involved in this initiative.

As the BBC reports, publications from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and the Berlin-based Axel Springer group are not among the founding partners of the Digital News Initiative.

Google, for its part, has claimed that other news organisations are welcome to join its new initiative.

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