In June of 2022, Google reopened its news aggregator in Spain on Wednesday, nearly eight years after it closed the service because of a Spanish law that imposed fees on the company for using publishers' content.
Google claims that the loss of Google News hurt Spanish publishers, although there’s evidence to back that up. A 2017 study found that the shutdown of Google News reduced overall news consumption by about 20% for treatment users, and it reduced page views on publishers other than Google News by 10%.
In 2021, Madrid transposed European Union copyright rules, revamped in 2020, into legislation, allowing media outlets to negotiate directly with the tech giant. The move prompted an announcement from Google in 2021 that it would re-open Google News in the following year.
The U.S. tech giant announced in November 2021 that Google News would return to Spain, without setting a date, after Madrid approved a 2019 EU copyright law that allows third-party online news platforms to negotiate directly with content providers regarding fees. This means Google no longer has to pay a fee to Spain's entire media industry and can instead negotiate with individual publishers. Last week, Google reached an agreement with France’s government to negotiate with French publishers over payments for links to their content.
Marking its 20th anniversary, Google News with recent enhancements, lets users add filters, customize topics, and fact-check sections. Users would be able to add filters to the local news section from multiple locations.
This is good news for readers in Spain. Starting early next year, Google News will provide links to useful and relevant news stories, from a wide range of sources, to help people in Spain find more information about current events and dive deeper into those stories. Moreover, Google News helps people get more information from more news sources; a key tool in the fight against misinformation. For journalists and publishers, Google News helps them be discovered by more readers and generate valuable free traffic.
Why did Google News shut down?
In a move that has surprised no one, Google News announced it would withdraw from Spain, in 2014, and remove Spanish media from its service, after the government passed a copyright law forcing aggregators to pay news publishers for their stories. Google has long argued that its news site drives readers to newspapers and magazine websites and thus helps them generate advertising revenue and find new subscribers.
The law, dubbed “Google tax”, was set to be introduced in the new year but the head of Google News, Richard Gingras, later revealed in a blog post that the search engine would not be signing up. He went on to add that the law which would allow Spanish publishers to charge Google "for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications" was not sustainable.